Soul Calibur 2 HD Online Slices Into Comic Con

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Today, during a San Diego Comic-Con panel, Namco Bandai announced a high-definition re-release of Soul Calibur 2. It will release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this fall. The game will be called “Soul Calibur 2 HD Online”. Soul Calibur 2 HD will feature the original game’s many modes such as Arcade, Survival, VS Battle, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle, Practice and Weapon Master. Following the big annoucement, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada announced that Masaaki Hoshino would serve as producer on the Soul Calibur series going forward. Check out this teaser trailer below.

[Via: Gamespot]

The Reality of Gaming and Negativity This Generation (and Next)

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Back in 2009, I was publishing monthly videos via my YouTube account, while working for a previous gaming website. One particular video that garnered much attention was a video I did discussing my thoughts on the gaming market at that time. The video was aptly named “Death of the Console Wars”. Though it got several thousand views, as well as numerous comments, I felt good posting it because it was my thoughts on everything I had experienced and known from my 20+ years of gaming. The video was a culmination of all the disgust and nonsense that was flooding the blogs and internet at that time between the so-called “Console Fanboy Wars”.

Obviously, let’s be honest, this past generation has been Microsoft and Sony neck-and-neck. In the video, I spoke very bluntly on why I buy all consoles and what my predictions were for all three of the major consoles. Fast-forward 4 years years later and it turned out to be completely on the mark. No, Michael Patcher need not worry, because I would need to be wrong numerous times while sounding overly-intelligent about marketing strategies, while at the end of the day I’m just really talking about video games and nothing even remotely important to all of our everyday lives.

In this video, I predicted how Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo would fare by the end of this generation, and, without getting into it, just check the figures and polls online and the results are roughly what I stated they would be. The point is I did that video because I was beyond disgusted with the super-fanatical stereotypical nerdy arguments and drama of 21st century expression. I had purchased the Xbox 360 back in November of 2005 and have never regretted the purchase. This system ushered me into the next generation. For the first time ever, my brother and I raced home and booted it up with excitement. We were told it would visually upgrade your original Xbox games, which was revolutionary at the time. Matter of fact, it’s still revolutionary, being that no other system, including the new X1 and PS4, can upgrade last-gen visuals. Wait, that’s right – they’re not backwards-compatible to begin with! Smart move guys, that way they can port more HD classic collections later on and charge for games we already bought years before. This equals extortion according to the FBI, but let’s not get off-topic.

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Having bought the 360, I purchased Call of Duty 2 and Condemned: Criminal Origins, and needless to say, we were blown away. The visuals and audio were nothing we had ever seen or heard before. Now this is 2005; just weeks before that I was still playing San Andreas on my PS2! The graphical jump coupled with this new “High Definition” technology in video games was astounding. Right out the box, we had HD Component cables, outputting 480p “DVD” quality, 720p, and 1080i, the standard with which TV channels are broadcast in today. Hooking up my iPod to the Xbox, I could stream my music and use it as a game’s soundtrack, which for a movie score fanatic like me was pure bliss. I won’t keep describing the numerous features we have all learned and experienced now or expect. A year later, the Playstation 3 launched and after much apprehensiveness, I decided to buy this mammoth of a system, despite its equally-large price. After leaving Toys ‘R’ Us $640 poorer (tax included), I was eager to race home. This large black console I knew had to be teeming with power if it costs this much, right!? I purchased Resistance: Fall of Man and Motorstorm, and was very content. Motorstorm showed visuals I had never seen before up to that point and was thoroughly excited to see the future of this console. Resistance didn’t wow with visuals, but it did please all in its great gameplay and intriguing story.

As 2007 came, I purchased a Wii, because I wanted this experience of new technology that the other systems weren’t doing, and I loved it. It’s great when each system offers a variety that you cannot get on the other two. I purchased Super Mario Galaxy and Resident Evil 4 Wii edition. Both were fantastic titles that went on to score very well and sell even better. By now, I had experienced all three systems in their early years, and what each one was technically capable of, up to that point at least. And now, here is where the heart of this story lies. Throughout 2006 to 2009, there was an outpouring of gamers who continuously spewed hate because of their particular stance on a gaming system. Every website imaginable had ridiculous columns about why each system was better. Now for the first time ever, “gamers” all of a sudden knew or cared about company stocks and marketing strategies, and using these in arguments about which is the better console. Even big websites, which I will not name, occasionally had articles laced with overtones of bias that would, on numerous occasions, start a list of internet comment wars about 21st-century nonsense.

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These articles/boards/comments would circulate throughout the gaming community, leading consumers who are “not in the know” to believe idiotic rumors, and some did not buy a certain console or tend to take a stance against a company because of what a friend of a friend said, or what www.$@$#.com believed. Now to me, this is all insane and I never encountered such a heavily-psychotic problem in the previous generations. I had a PS2 and Gamecube and a cousin with an Xbox and everything was all cool, the world kept spinning. By the time we got to 2009, I had realized the direction each company was going and I released this video speaking my mind on what I felt I could see coming down the road for all three. Now in 2013, I realized, as well as all of you, who had watched and commented that it was a correct assessment. Regardless, this console generation is finally coming to a close this fall. With the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I had hopes that this drama would be a thing of the past; clearly, it’s not. Interesting, since this generation, both the PS4 and X1 are going to be so closely similar in specs and features and even appearance in some ways, that the differences between them are the most minuscule they have ever been in the previous generations. The Wii U shows the biggest difference between the three consoles.

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I purchased a Wii U in November of 2012, and have my own thoughts on Nintendo’s latest system and their marketing strategies. Regardless, I have never regretted my purchase, nor have I ever seriously taken anybody’s prediction that Nintendo was already TKO’d when the system just came out, literally 8 months ago. Nintendo has been in the business longer than Sony and Microsoft put together, and they didn’t become successful from having a enormous selection of mature-rated titles or a fully interactive online gaming community. They always come out swinging with their exclusive and creative titles that no other company can replicate. And I have no doubts that 8 months from now, the state of the Wii U will be at a much more prominent status than it has been placed in now.

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Sadly, ever since E3 2013, the fanboy rants have been growing to sizes of yesteryear. With Microsoft’s announced DRM policy (and its reversal), it gave Nintendo and Sony untold amounts of ammunition that is waning at a too-slow rate. I say this because once the Fall hits, all three crowds of extremist gamers will have to rant and rave. They will roar about a piece of cheaply-made plastic manufactured in China on an assembly line. They will then give reasons as to why they “hate” (yes, hate) the other company. I have said it many times before, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony DO NOT CARE WHETHER YOU LIVE OR DIE. They do not care whether you make your rent this month, or hospital bills, or lose your job. Mircosoft/Sony/Nintendo exec’s do not scour the internet messaging you on Facebook, asking “how is the family” and “how your old aunt with the heart condition doing”. They do not care about you. Their business is to generate a maximum profit each year by releasing content people that will flock to stores to buy. And there is nothing wrong with that; it’s business, pure and simple. However, when you hear this sort of “hero worship” or “company loyalty” among the gaming community, I can’t help but laugh and feel sad at the same time for them.

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I still today can’t figure out where this hate comes from. Whether some people simply can’t afford to buy multiple systems, and must create an imaginary world of hate in order to compensate for their tight income, I don’t know. All these years later and it’s still a great mystery as to why gamers/nerds/gaming journalists continue to spew hate and lunacy towards the X1, PS4, or the Wii U and all past-gen consoles. What is this passion and anger that comes from a subject so inconsequential in our everyday world? The subject after all is video games; it can’t be more infantile than that. I am 25 years old and I love playing video games and writing about my feelings on them, and the market as a whole too. However, even I realize that no matter how mainstream gaming becomes, it will always be looked on as an adolescent hobby where the only true facts are that money is spent in vast amounts each year by the consumer.

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The hate doesn’t have to be there this time, the rivalry should not be in our minds and spewing out. We are not sitting high above in an office working as an executive at any of these companies, we are merely a purchaser of their manufactured goods. And of course if you are someone who just prefers one over the other for specific reasons, that’s perfectly normal and acceptable obviously. Technology can be amazing at times, and in gaming, I do not think anybody should have the right or provocation to become enraged or angered by another piece of technology that nobody is forcing you to buy or not. I am a gamer and I love to game because it is a terrific pastime for me. I chose to purchase all three consoles because I work multiple jobs and monetary reasons would allow me to. More importantly, I chose to purchase all three because I can never see limiting myself to one or two, if not all three. If they all seem exciting in different aspects, and are all offering unique experiences in their own way, then why not?

A New Generation for Xbox is Coming

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Microsoft is set to announce “a new generation of Xbox” at its Redmond, WA campus on May 21st. It seems a press invite was received today by most media outlets regarding this event. The invitation apparently came from Don Mattrick stating, “Don Mattrick and the Xbox team invite you to the Xbox campus for a special unveiling.” Fear not non-press people, as Xbox owners on Microsoft’s official e-mail list received emails stating that the event will be streamed live on Spike TV, as well as through Xbox Live itself.

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It is worth noting that this event comes just weeks before E3, meaning the build up should now work positively, just as it has since Sony’s unveiling a few months back. Some are speculating that this “new generation” reveal is going to be a show dedicated to displaying the next-gen games in action rather than unveiling the system, just as Sony had done. The lack of official word from Microsoft on their next console is troubling to me. Considering the latest rumors are pegging it at an expensive price point and not being able to support 360 games is a big flaw in my opinion. However, nothing is official as of yet. Stay tuned, because the next couple of weeks are sure going to be an exciting time for gamers.

Skype to Replace Xbox Live Voice Chat for The Next Xbox

The next-gen rumors continue to leak, this time from Microsoft. An unnamed inside source stated that Microsoft will be “consolidating all their communications technology” around Skype. It is apparent that Skype will become the default chat service on the next Microsoft console. There are whispers that the next Xbox might support both video and voice chat at the same time while playing a game. This would prove to be quite a powerful CPU at work here. Microsoft’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype two years ago was noted as the companies largest acquisition ever in its 40 year history.

This past November, a job advertisement was posted revealing that Microsoft was seeking a user interface designer for Xbox 720. The job description stated, “The team you’ll join is responsible for Skype in the living room, across various devices but with a focus on the large screen and the next generation of Xbox.” Clearly, Skype will be playing a major role in the next Xbox console, and we will have to wait and see just how intuitive it will be.

TimeSplitters 2 HD Remake a Possibility?

Well, this will be somewhat exciting news for longtime fans of “TimeSplitters 2”. The developer, Free Radical Design, had an HD version of the game in development right before the studio’s unfortunate shut down according to what an ex-Rare employee has stated. Team members Steve Ellis, Martin Wakeley and Lee Musgrave divulged the new information in an interview. “We had an ‘HD’ downloadable version of TimeSplitters 2 in development at Free Radical in 2008,” ex-Goldeneye programmer Ellis explained. “I don’t know what happened to that but yes, I’d love to see it released at some point.

“Maybe it could be the catalyst that is required in order to raise enough interest in TimeSplitters 4 that a publisher might want to fund it. Rare outsourced some of the conversion/development of Banjo Kazooie for Xbox Live Arcade, and it was kind of a test case for us to see what could be achieved in terms of developing with a partner, keeping our costs low and making some revenue,” Musgrave explained. “You can make your own conclusions as to how that turned out by the fact that we didn’t move on to any of the other games you mention. We came close to firing off a conversion of Killer Instinct a few times, but there were licensing obstacles to that, and it never really had enough perceived interest to push it forward.” Other franchises from the group’s Rare days have also struggled to make a reappearance, although Banjo Kazooie did turn up on Xbox Live Arcade.

Rumors are now swirling around the internet that this project may indeed be picked up by another developer. Sources are still scattered on who exactly might grab the franchise and gift of completing this much needed HD revival of a cult classic. Until then we the gamers will have to wait and see what exactly comes of this, and who will finish the job. For more news on this or any other topic be sure to keep it locked onto Gamers Xtreme, and as always, “Game On!”

SSX Patch 3.5 Out Today, Brings Awesome Tweaks

SSX received a new update today, adding some exciting new features to the game, including:

  • Characters can now be leveled up to level 15. Levels 12-15 are unlocked with in-game credits.
  • Players can now choose weather conditions and time of day before a drop.
  • Innate weather changes made to The Dilemma, Don’t Make Me, Buckeye, Invincible, Code Blue, Intrepid, Lockjaw, Last Call, Vengeance, The Dagger, and Broken Tooth drops.
  • Ghost wins now reward more credits.
  • Placing and collecting Geotags reward more credits and XP.

Combined with the multiplayer patch that was recently released, the team behind SSX is really going a long way towards letting players play the game the way they want. Check out the patch today, and let us know what you think of the new godly powers at your disposal!

You can view an unofficial video detailing the patch here.

Top 5 Things Fanboys Can Agree On

Here at Gamers XTREME, we try to deliver every article we write without any bias. Obviously, this sort of attitude is diametrically opposed to the one shared by fanboys, those gamers who have an undying loyalty to a single system or franchise, to the point of bashing others just to raise their favorite higher. You can read a more in-depth analysis in my and R17’s articles. Now by fanboy, I don’t simply mean someone who loves a given system – if you enjoy your Uncharted but still judge Halo as a great video game franchise, or if you own an Xbox but enjoy playing on your friend’s PS3, this title doesn’t belong to you.

Since the fanboy mentality is so focused on hatred and belligerence, I’d rather focus on something that all fanboys can agree on – the high points of their chosen systems that they can enjoy on their own merits, not when compared to others. Let’s face it – the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3, this generation’s mainstream consoles, all have a lot going for them. If we can look inward instead of outward, and enjoy what we have, I think fanboyism will be seen as a much less antagonistic, pejorative title. Rather than being seen as slavering, overzealous bullies, fanboys can represent their favorite consoles with respect. With that, let me shed some light on a few things you should be proud of:

5. Each Console Has a Great Controller

No matter your choice of favored system, one thing we can all agree on is that the controller for each is extremely well-designed and built for the best gameplay experience. I own all three mainstream systems and have to say that they each have their merits. The Xbox 360 controller is perfect for the shooter fan – thumb sticks are placed in intuitive locations, triggers for firing and aiming are within easy reach, and the whole thing feels solid in your hands. The PS3 controller is great all-around for the satisfyingly-responsive L & R buttons and the easily-reached thumb sticks and D-Pad. The WiiMote and Nunchuk fit nicely in your hands and have every control within easy reach, and the WiiMote can be turned sideways for a more old-school functionality. No matter which you choose, it just feels right.

4. Every Console Has A Great Motion-Control Technology

If there’s one thing this generation has shown, it’s that we all crave a more immersive, game-changing (so-to-speak) experience. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have answered the call and designed some hardware for each console to create new experiences beyond simple controller functionality. First out of the gate was the Wii with its out-of-the-box motion control functionality. Most games are controlled via a combination of the controller’s face buttons and moving it around, such as in Metroid Prime 3, where the player actually aims Samus’s arm cannon by pointing at a target on the screen. In Twilight Princess, Link swings his sword according to the player’s movements. Sony brought motion gaming to the PlayStation 3 as well, initially with its admittedly-underused SixAxis controller and later on with the much more successful PlayStation Move. Microsoft set out to steal the show later with its revolutionary Kinect sensor and promise of controller-free gameplay, something unheard of at the time. Though each system admittedly has its flaws, no one can deny the think-outside-the-box mentality each console’s designers brought to the table this generation, making motion gaming less of a niche concept and more of a mainstream gameplay method.

3. Every Console’s Company Screwed Up

Now this is a category some fanboys will have a hard time admitting, but ultimately, every console company has made some kind of major slip-up after releasing its current-gen console. Nintendo shifted gears from publishing a wide range of games for its previous consoles and focusing more on family-friendly titles, partially alienating some of its previous fan-base. Though a few titles can be picked out that don’t follow this trend – Metroid Prime 3, Twilight Princess, Mad House, and Red Steel come to mind – it was clear that the Wii wasn’t really for everyone. It looks like they’re trying to win back some of their more hardcore gamers with their upcoming Wii U console. Sony’s most famous incident this generation was the security snafu with its PlayStation Network, exposing many of its users to “possible” data theft, obviously a tremendous threat. They have offered free ID theft protection to anyone possibly affected, and treated users of the PlayStation Network to a selection of free triple-A titles as their way of apologizing and saying “welcome back”. No such invasion of Sony’s systems has occurred since. Last but not least is Microsoft’s initial game lineup for its Kinect peripheral. Being able to navigate the interface using your voice is cool and all, but Microsoft initially made a huge mis-step by trying to exclusively pander to families with their initial game line-up. Kinect Adventures? Kinectimals? Where are the hardcore titles? Well you can control your squadmates and navigate dialogues using voice commands in Mass Effect 3. Cool…but barring contracts between Microsoft and BioWare, not at all impossible on other consoles. The following year, Microsoft seemed almost unapologetic for its initial line-up, making a big announcement at E3 – Kinectimals now included 3 new animals! …seriously? At least you can use your Kinect on your PC and program some awesome functionality for its use in your PC games. See Kinect in Skyrim for proof.

The point here isn’t to give any one camp ammo against the other, but rather to highlight the fact that no system is perfect; we need to be willing to take the good along with the bad.

2. Each Console’s Exclusives Are Awesome

Probably one of the biggest factors when deciding which console to buy, exclusives are a double-edged sword; only a third of console owners will get to play one, but when they do, they can be sure it will use all of the console’s capabilities to the fullest. No matter which you choose, though, you can be sure it’s going to be a great experience. From Halo and Gears of War to Uncharted and Metal Gear Solid 4 to Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3, every game exclusive to its system stands tall on its own merits. And you can’t truly compare one to the other, because they set out to be unique gameplay experiences that nobody can duplicate. Gears is the cover-based shooter every other is destined to be measured up to. Halo is an epic of an FPS with awesome competitive multiplayer. Uncharted is simply the closest you can come to playing a movie, with tremendous production values and top-notch voice acting. Metal Gear Solid 4 lags slightly behind with its hours and hours of cutscenes, but offers an awesome stealth-action experience. Twilight Princess was the biggest leap forward for the Zelda franchise since Ocarina of Time, and Metroid Prime 3 combined tight motion controls with engaging adventuring and puzzle-solving elements. Whatever you’ve got, enjoy it – it’s some of the finest experiences you’ll have on any console.

1. Multi-Platform Games Are The Same On Each Console

This is probably the most volatile claim on this list, but barring a few examples, the above is mostly true, however this applies more to PS3 and Xbox 360 owners than Wii players, simply because of technical differences and diverging game libraries. On to the point – it really doesn’t matter which console you play Call of Duty on – the differences in graphics, sound, performance, and online capabilities are hardly noticeable, if at all, and this applies to many multi-platform games. The only real deciding factor in which system you buy a game for are its uses of your console’s controllers and motion gaming, if applicable, and which friends you plan to play the game with. Like I said, there are a few exceptions, such as Mass Effect 3, which suffers from some bugs on PS3 (FPS drops being a big one) that aren’t as prevalent on PC and Xbox 360. However, we shouldn’t be bickering with each other over these differences; rather, we should hold our developers accountable for delivering a fair and equally-enjoyable experience across all consoles. It’s not the players’ fault the game doesn’t run as well on one platform, so let’s put that attention somewhere it can be truly productive – in our developers’ inboxes and Twitter feeds.

Closing Remarks

I hope you exit this article with a newfound sense of pride – and humility – for your console of choice. Fanboyism is degrading to the whole of the gamer base, so let’s stop bickering with each other and start enjoying our consoles of choice. Even better – share your experiences with others for a more enriched and informed gamer community!

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

BioWare: Thanks for the DLC, Now Fix the Bugs

BioWare released Mass Effect 3’s Earth DLC pack July 17th, and now that I’ve had the chance to unlock and play around with a few of the N7 classes, I’ve got to say it’s awesome. The new maps are cool, the classes are game-changing, and the new weapons are a welcome addition to the already-blistering array of guns available. BioWare’s been expanding on the available multiplayer content pretty rapidly since Mass Effect 3’s release back in March, including the Resurgence and Rebellion packs, arguably as a way to placate the large, angry mob some of the fanbase has turned into over many of the game’s perceived problems, such as the controvertial ending (which has been – hopefully – fixed).

The only problem is that the game the DLC is built upon is inherently broken, and not enough has been done to fix it.

A multitude of bugs have existed since the game’s release and have yet to be fixed. Here’s a few examples that I ran into on the Playstation 3, both back when the game launched and within the last week:

  • Large FPS drops on PS3, especially outdoors
  • Enemies disappear (like the Banshee that was right in front of me)
  • Camera anomalies (erratic movement when leaning out of cover
  • Sound cutting out
  • Voice chat stuttering
  • Black screen / freezing after mission ends
  • Getting stuck in cover / unable to move
  • Bouncing / Teleporting after revival in multiplayer
  • Continuous weapon firing effect, even when not shooting

A lot of these issues are being experienced by players on other platforms, and some of them are downright game-breaking. It’s alarming that they haven’t been fixed for over four months after the game’s release. BioWare, you fixed up the endings, and you’ve given us plenty of DLC to hold us over. Now it’s time to roll up the sleeves and figure these bugs out. The DLC is nice, but if the game they’re built on has flaws – and major ones – it’s going to impair our gaming experience no matter how many new maps, guns, or classes you give us to play with. “Assemble your team” and squash these bugs, even if you need to pull members off of your DLC development teams.

If you’ve experienced any bugs not mentioned above, please let us know in the comments below. We’re looking to compile a complete list of bugs, and with your help, we can inform BioWare on what to do to make Mass Effect 3 a perfect gaming experience.

PC, PS3 Fans Still in the Dark About Dawnguard Release Date

Hype has been mounting for Bethesda’s Skyrim add-on, Dawnguard, since its release on the Xbox 360 last month. The developer had a pattern with its previous games of timed-exclusive releases of DLC one month after their primary release platform, so fans have been going wild with that same deadline approaching for Dawnguard.

However, Pete Hines, Vice President of Bethesda, reminded fans on his Twitter feed recently that no promises have been made just yet: “We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given a timeline for any such news. If we have news, I promise I’d tell you.”

We know Microsoft appealed to Bethesda’s wallets to snag a timed exclusive release for Dawnguard, but why would Hines stay so tight-lipped about addressing tremendously-important rumors for roughly 2/3 of Skyrim’s player-base? Is Dawnguard being delayed beyond the initial month-long window projected by fans? Or is Hines trying to keep the fan-base under control to prevent rumor from turning into popular opinion? Whatever the cause, Hines and Bethesda need to handle this situation gingerly, lest they have their names added to the list of other PR nightmares we’ve seen this year, including BioWare and Blizzard with Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3, respectively.

You can follow Hines’ Twitter feed here for any new developments on this situation. Let us know what you think about this development in the comments below.

Borderlands Franchise – Sales and Pre-Orders Happening NOW!

2K Games made a few huge announcements today concerning its Borderlands franchise.

Firstly, Borderlands 2 is now available for pre-order on most popular digital distribution platforms, such as Steam, Amazon, and Gamefly, among others. Just like the physical version, pre-ordering the digital version of Borderlands 2 automatically qualify for access to the Borderlands 2 Premiere Club, granting access to extra content, including the Mechromancer class.

Secondly, for those of you who have yet to try Borderlands (and you should – ASAP!), its digital distribution – as well as all of its DLC – will have a 75% off sale from now until July 30, 2012 (5 days, as of this writing – get cracking!) For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, or haven’t gotten all of the game’s DLC, this is the *perfect* opportunity to take a maiden/return trip to Pandora.

The full announcement can be viewed here.