Microsoft Showcase 2008: Ninja Gaiden II Impressions

It’s not often you walk into a room with every heavyweight behind one console in one place. Yesterday in San Fransisco this was very much a rare instance for the 2008 Showcase. The first thing I noticed once walking inside was none other than Team Ninja front man Tomonobu Itagaki playing Viva Pinata 2 during what was probably a much needed break from the early morning sessions. Once things got underway at about 2 the first game I got a chance to sit down with was Ninja Gaiden 2.

Ninja Gaiden to me on the first Xbox was one of the most impossible games I’ve ever played. Go ahead and ridicule, I’m just not hardcore enough. However, even Itagaki himself admitted in an interview which I will be posting soon that the difficulty in Ninja Gaiden was thrown in via pure unblockable moves by opponents that would take down half your health. In summation, it was the stereotypical overbearing unnecessary difficulty. Much to my pleasure, Ninja Gaiden II has an option to play a toned down mode known as the Acolyte. In acolyte difficulty the enemies are not as numerous but are still numerous enough where it’s definitely a fight. The damage they do is also not as much per hit. While this is obviously viewed as a wuss way to play by “hardcore gamers” it made Ninja Gaiden II enjoyable for those us wanting to avoid the numerous controlling throwing moments of Ninja Gaiden. On the harder difficulty setting the enemies are more numerous and do more damage and only those who were good at Ninja Gaiden should attempt this path at least at first.
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GTA:IV Week One by the Numbers


Officially from Gamerscoreblog

We got some data from the US team, and we’re here to share that news with you:

* Actual MS sales data from last week shows Xbox 360 console sales at retail went up 54% week-over-week as a result of GTA’s success
* According to retailers more than 60% of all GTA games sold in the first week were the Xbox 360 version
* Retailers are telling us that the game is attaching strongly to new console sales, with roughly 40% of new consoles selling with a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV

Regarding Xbox LIVE:

* In the first week, more than 2.3 million people played Grand Theft Auto IV on Xbox LIVE
* GTA IV is now the number one played game on Xbox LIVE
* Over the weekend, we saw the Xbox LIVE service reach 1 million concurrent users
* Gamers have unlocked more than 12 million achievements worth over 100 million gamerscore points in GTA
* Grand Theft Auto IV set a new record for time played, with the average gamer spending more than four hours playing the game on LIVE in the first week alone

Midway goes 1 on 1 with 2Op For NBA Ballers Chosen One


NBA Ballers is set to hit shelves next week on April 21st as the real NBA season is about to begin (Don’t look for any objectivity on 2Op about that either, hence the title photo and gamerpic). In time for it’s release and because we are here at 2Op are really hyped for Ballers, we go 1 on 1 with Lead Designer John Vignocchi. All sorts of great info from this interview about ballers. Find out about the online modes, the tweaks to the gameplay since the last videos, and John includes almost an entire design doc on the gameplay mechanic when pulling off offensive and defensive moves. Plus, find out how NBA Ballers: Chosen One inspired a dunk for Dwight Howard at this year’s dunk contest.

2Op: How is the story mode going to differ in Chose One from the previous NBA Ballers?

John Vignocchi: This time around we’ve used all live action footage of various people/players to tell the story. You’ll regularly check in with Chuck D who is coming live from the set of NBA All Access, and with other NBA stars that make guest appearances. It actually goes a long way to making the gamer feel that he really is a part of the story.

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New Mafia II Screenshots


NBA Ballers: Final Roster Video In Game Footage

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