Category Archives: Gaming

Digital Swapping Comes to the Biggest Digital Distributor Near You

I was about to write bestdigital distributor, but I remembered GOG.com and relegated Steam to biggest. It certainly is one of the better modern game digital distributors, of course, what with Valve games being there and nowhere else.

trading_live

So, getting back to the topic, Steam has uncorked the finely beta-aged wine of Steam Trading and allowed all Steam users access to its digital trading feature. Steam Trading is, very simply, a digital trading service built atop the Steam client that allows users to trade Team Fortress 2, Spiral Knights and Steam Gifts with one another. Valve have also said that trading of items from Portal 2 will soon be open. Steam Gifts can be traded for other games or TF2 and Spiral Knights items as long as you have not opened the gift:-

Any game you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy, can be traded to other users. They can be used to trade for other Gifts, or for items in Team Fortress 2 or Spiral Knights

This is quite a lovely step up by Steam and is a boon for many online game trading forums that relied on trust instead of a portal like this for their trading. Of course, you could also stock up a sizable collection of hats from Team Fortress 2 , but that is completely up to you.

Gears of War 3 to Launch in India on September 20; Pre-order Begins

Gears of War 3 is  a spectacular conclusion to one of the most memorable and celebrated sagas in video games. The game is now available for pre-order before the official launch in India  on September 20. You can place your order at the Microsoft India Online Store as well as select retail outlets across the country. There’s more good news: with all pre-orders, you can redeem an additional multiplayer character.

Gears of War 3

Developed by Epic Games exclusively for Xbox 360, Gears of War 3 plunges you into a harrowing tale of hope, survival, and brotherhood. The trilogy comes to an end with this new addition starring Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad. Gears of War 3 features an enthralling cinematic story with an unparalleled gameplay. It pushes the envelope for stunning visuals on Xbox 360. The game will be available in two editions: standard and legendary edition at an estimated retail price of INR 2499 and INR 3499 respectively.

To mark the launch of the game, Microsoft has also announced an online gaming challenge. You need to register your team at http://www.facebook.com/xbox360india. Only two teams will survive the online challenge; and will be a part of an immersive GoW3 gaming challenge in Delhi. The two squads will be flown to Delhi to reveal Gears of War 3 at the launch party. All members of the winning team will get a Kinect sensor each, Gears of War 3 CDs, and exclusive Gears of War merchandize. Runners up will get a GoW 3 CD each with exclusive Gears of War merchandise. The three runner-up teams will win exclusive Gears of War merchandize. Even if you are cheering for one of the teams, you stand a chance to win some Gears of War T-shirts and limited edition posters.

Wrap Up of PC Games from Gamescom 2011

Gamescom was held over the past week with over 270,000 gamers attending the event. It is the biggest trade fair for video games, surpassing E3, though not quite as popular.

Now I couldn’t travel all the way to Cologne, Germany to attend Gamescom, but over the weekend I scoured through all of the trailers shown at Gamescom and here’s my take on some of the best upcoming PC games that were shown in Gamescom.

Starting off with couple of MMORPGS, first is BioWare & Lucas Arts’ production, Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare have been releasing footage of Star Wars:The Old Republic on a fairly regular level. At Gamescom, BioWare showcased combat from a Sith perspective.

Star Wars:The Old Republic is slated to release this quarter and I’m eagerly waiting for it.

Next up in the line of MMORPG is the NCSoft published, ArenaNet developed GuildWars 2. Looking at the trailer, the developer diary and some PvP footage, it does look like Guild Wars 2 is going to be real pretty game.

Moving on to RPGs, BioWare’s final game in the Mass Effect series, Mass Effect 3 was on the spotlight. The footage showed a combat scene in Mass Effect 3 in a slightly more tactical approach rather than the usual run-and-gun.

Another RPG which has captured my interest is 38 Studios’ Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I first spotted the game during this year’s E3 and have been following it rather keenly. With the story written by none other than R. A. Salvatore, the creator of the Icewind Dale trilogy(which BioWare based upon for their   cult D&D game Icewind Dale), the game looks a must-play.

Following up on their 2009 release, 2K Games and Gearbox software showed a small 30-second teaser trailer to the FPS/RPG hybrid Borderlands. The teaser shows the character shooting away at enemies with a modded machine gun in Borderlands’ signature cell shaded glory.

Moving on to Action/FPS games, EA has been showing quite a lot of Battlefield 3 footage, trying to pit it against Call of Duty series. Over the past few months, there’s been lot of chatter between the fans and developers of the two games especially with both the company CEOs exchanging some mudslinging.

At Gamescom, EA showed a gameplay trailer featuring a 64-player multiplayer map with tanks, foot and air combat. Definitely a must watch.

Also on show was Prototype 2, the sequel to Activision/Radical Entertainment’s Sci-Fi open world action game Prototype. Prototype featured you as Alex Mercer once an ordinary human being transformed into a shapeshifter with superhuman powers by way of Blacklight virus infection. Prototype 2 continues the story with the player playing as Sgt. James Heller, trying to get revenge on Alex for killing his family.

In the racing genre, EA had announced in E3 that their new iteration of their flagship racing game series, Need For Speed dubbed as Need For Speed:The Run, would be returning to fast-cars-open-world-cop-chase-street-racing genre. At Gamescom, EA showed a 5 minute gameplay video of a race through a snowstorm set in Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Have a look at it:

For the finale, Valve showed off the trailer for DoTA 2. Defense of The Ancients – better known as DoTA – has come a long way from it’s origins. DoTA started off as a custom map/scenario for Warcraft III. Much like Counter Strike, the mod achieved a cult following thanks to it’s addictive gameplay. Valve showed their trailer for DoTA 2 and also held some tournaments based on the as-yet-being-developed game.

The tournament gameplay videos and signup for beta testing DoTA is available on the DoTA2 site.

[Deal Alert] id Software’s Rail Shooter ‘Rage/Rage HD’ Free This Week Only

There is a lot of hype building around id Software’s upcoming post-appocalyptic shooter called Rage. They have been pushing it through social media campaigns for the past few weeks, including one with Facebook. They said that, if their Facebook page got 100,000 likes, they would give away the on-rails version of Rage for iOS for Free for one week.

Well, they hit their goal, and we all win because of it. Rage and Rage HD are both available for free from the App Store for one week only. There are two versions, but they are the same game. If you have a recent generation device (iPhone 4, iPad 2), then you should grab the HD version. Any older, and you should grab regular Rage.

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Fair warning about the game: It’s pretty violent. The idea is that you are a competitor in a game show. The goal of the game show is to earn as much money as possible while shooting mutants. Considering that this is a mobile version of an upcoming M rated game, I wouldn’t let your impressionable child play it on their own.

I spent a little time with the game and I can say that I really enjoy playing it. Its a nice sized game, and that makes it an even better deal during its time as a freebie. I see it having a great replay value, despite only having 3  different  levels. Get it while you can, and then go play!

Let us know what you think of Rage by leaving a comment down below.

Bethesda Softworks Sues Mojang Specifications Over “Scrolls”

Scrolls is an upcoming fantasy game from Mojang Specifications whose owner is Markus Minecraft NotchPersson. It is a strategy-action game where you use magical scrolls to fight and on the outset is similar to the fantasy card game Magic: The Gathering and its derivatives. The Elder Scrolls is a series of fantasy Role Playing Games (RPG) from Bethesda Softworks. Now that we have the required data, let us get down to business.

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On the fifth of August, Notch received a fifteen page letter from a Swedish law firm that represented Bethesda claiming that Scrolls infringes on the trademark of The Elder Scrolls. Considering that Bethesda’s games have little to do with scrolls (the last game had demonic gates sprouting up everywhere and your job was to destroy them, more or less) this came as quite a shock to gamers as well as Notch. However, he took it with a pinch of salt:-

First of all, I love Bethesda. I assume this nonsense is partly just their lawyers being lawyers, and a result of trademark law being the way it is.

IGN has contacted Bethesda reps for more on this issue from their side, but there has not been a comment from their side yet.

For now, however, the internet has already come up with ways to trivialize the issue, like the advance copy of Skyrim that apparently does not work on the drive (hint: it’s a real scroll) or who Bethesda will be suing next.

Heroes of Newerth goes Free to Play

The popular multiplayer RPG/Strategy hybrid Heroes of Newerth has officially gone Free to Play (F2P) as of today with a decent enough plan to keep previously paying players and green newbies both happy with it. With a three-tiered user program and additional heroes to be featured on the game, Heroes of Newerth looks to take on existing F2P games such as League of Legends and the phenomenal Defense of the Ancients (DotA) with its own brand.

heroesofnewerth

With an art aesthetic that looks very similar to Warcraft III‘s style, the game is not very different from the custom scenario, DotA, made for Warcraft. However, many enthusiasts readily paid for the game as it was easy to pick up and (at least initially) did not have experienced players that took apart newbies. To keep new players streaming in to the F2P Heroes to Newerth, the developers have added three tiers of user levels to aid them in learning the game. As soon as you sign up, you get a Basic package which allows you to play with other Basic package players. After accruing some experience, you get to be a Verified user. Verified users get some extra features over the Basic players. The old paying customers will be upgraded to the Legacy account which has some minor advantages over the Verified user base (such as gaining new heroes a little earlier than the release) but nothing that would otherwise ruin the game.

It seems with games such as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth becoming F2P the upcoming Defense of the Ancients 2 from Valve will have to be F2P in order to attract the large user base of DotA. It will be interesting to see where this takes the industry.

Dragon Age II Removed from Steam

A more charming title would have been Dragon Age II Fades Away from Steambut not many readers might get the reference. Nevertheless, the title rings out true. The game has been removed from Valve’s digital distribution platform Steam. This comes on the eve of the launch of the new downloadable content (DLC) Legacyfor the troubled role playing game.

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I say troubled, because it had tremendously huge shoes to fill. The shoes being Dragon Age: Orgins‘. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the game more than the original and its expansion pack Awakening, partly because of how Mass Effect-y the second game felt and the more streamlined quests. It did have a lot of bugs, some tawdry continuity issues and the same I never meant to say thatmoments in the dialogue circles.

On this matter, Electronic Arts’ SVP of Global E-Commerce said:

At EA, we offer our games and content to all major download services including GameStop, Amazon, Direct2Drive and Steam,

Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently some of our games have been removed by Steam.

We hope to work out an agreement to keep our games on Steam.

So it seems that Valve had some trouble with the DLC being downloaded on the game’s own launcher, or EA could not sort out licensing and payment terms for the game on Steam. Either way, it is sorry to see two large companies bickering about this. I hope more games are not taken down from Steam on the pretext of T&C violation and put on EA’s Origin.

The Humble Indie Bundle is Back Again With Five Great Games!

The Humble Indie Bundle is a darling of the internet community. As usual, it is a sale of five great indie video games at the low (or high!) price of pay-whatever-you-want! The success story of the past two (and a special FrozenByte) bundle is quite well known and is worthy of the Internet Hall of Fame (if there is something of that sort).

humble indie bundle

The games on offer this time are as varied as before:-

humble bundle

Cogs: A puzzle game in which time and inventiveness are key! Build contraptions from sliding tiles to solve a level.

Crayon Physics Deluxe: Another puzzle game in which you literally draw your keys to complete each level using virtual crayons. Innovative to the core, the game also boasts of a splendid Newtonian physics simulation system.

VVVVVV: A retro 2D platformer that will elicit shrieks of rage from you as its wickedly twisted levels take your patience apart. It’s incredibly addictive and extremely punishing. A must play.

Hammerfight: A steampunk helicopter fighting game. Exactly that.

And Yet It Moves: A beautifully simple platfomer in a world full of ripped paper, this game has gained a lot of acclaim for being a joy to play.

So how much will you pay for these games that you will get DRM-free for Windows, Mac and Linux? Support indie games, readers! You can also donate the money to charity if you wish so. Buy it now!

Mount & Blade Mod Under Investigation for Showing Controversial Violence

I am a huge fan of Mount & Blade. By huge, I mean I have spent over a hundred hours of playing it in the few days of owning the game. By that I mean I have missed out on quite a few social callings just to seize a large town in a siege that lasted an hour or so of real life time. The game is most excellent. I have not even started on the plentiful mods that this game has mostly due to the developers making sure that the game has free modding access.

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So when I hear a news story that starts with A CULT game has been hacked…to show a historical event whose wounds have still not healed and that a police investigation is underway, you cannot imagine my indignation. Gangs of Glasgow is a faithless recreation (dare I use that phrase?) of 1980s Glasgow. The city is rife with football riots within the Old Firm and hoarse cries from beer-drenched throats. The purpose of the mod is entirely comedic as it says in its summarizing paragraph:-

Gangs of Glasgow is a continuing series of mods for Mount and Blade, which transplant the game to the modern-day city of Glasgow, Scotland, where medieval massed melee combat is still widely practised. The mods are mostly comedic in nature, but deal with serious real-life social issues such as knife-crime, drug abuse, and sectarianism, usually in a ridiculous and/or offensive way. These mods are recommended for Adults Only due to some of the content and language used.

It is definitely meant to be taken with a pinch of comedic salt, but the Hampden park riot of 1980 is still fresh in the minds of some folks in Glasgow. It seems both Celtics and Rangers have condemned the mod.

Quite sad.

Kinect Fun Labs Launches Two New Experiences

Kinect Fun Labs lets you discover and play with the newest advances in Kinect technology. These innovative applications (called gadgets) showcase new advancements in the controller-free device’s technology. Kinect Fun Labs was launched at the E3 conference earlier this year, and has a growing catalog of controller-free experiences. This week, Kinect Fun Labs is launching two new experiences: Avatar Kinect and Kinect Sparkler.

Kinect Fun Labs

Kinect Fun Labs plans to release new gadgets on a regular basis. The gadgets are meant to showcase innovations in Kinect technology in an approachable way. These fun, creative experiences allow consumers to get a sneak preview of interesting capabilities of Kinect today instead of waiting until it’s in full-blown games.

Avatar Kinect

Avatar Kinect is available today and lets you interact with your friends via your personalized avatar. You can hang out with up to seven other friends in 24 virtual stages ranging from a late-night talk show set to outer space to a sports tailgate party. Kinect’s camera tracks gestures and facial expressions eyebrow raises, smiles, belly laughs and all.

Avatar Kinect makes cyber socializing more real. Apart from random conversations with friends, you can host virtual events or create your own animated shows. Avatar Kinect is free for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers who have Kinect. It is also available to non-Gold subscribers for 45 days to try.

Kinect Sparkler

Kinect Sparkler, available later this week, lets players use their fingers to draw sparkling lines that whirl glowing, gold stars in front of, behind, and around 3-D photographs of themselves. Kinect Sparkler will cost 240 points on Xbox LIVE.

Users can share creations from both Avatar Kinect and Sparkler with the wave of a hand on the Kinect Fun Labs Live friends feed or uploading to KinectShare.com. KinectShare allows users to share their creations on Facebook or via email. It also allows users to download their creations to their computers.