Gears of War 2 Impressions

Gears of War is the first exclusive that really stuck the Xbox 360 on the map post launch. At the time the game’s visuals were so jaw dropping that everyone was enthralled. The game deservingly received numerous awards and remained at the top of Xbox live’s most played list. Now will the sequel deliver?

Yesterday in San Fransisco, Design Director for Epic Games Cliff Bleszinski demoed Gears of War 2 for approximately 30 minutes. He came into the demo with one simple theme: Gears of War 2 is going to be bigger, bloodier, and more bad ass. The two minute trailer that was released was the tip of the iceberg. That trailer came from an entire level that was demonstrated to us. Needless to say, when the demo finished the room had the sense that Gears 2 was going to deliver on his promises.

Gears 2 starts out 6 months after the original game and opens on the last day of Fall. The locust have come back in full force not just using emergence holes, but by creating holes that are devouring entire cities. Humanity is backed into its last bastion of hope which is above ground believed to be too thick to penetrate by the locusts. In this desperate hour, humanity has decided it is now time to take the fight back to the locusts. To do that they must take a grind lift that can carry 2 cog soldiers into enemy territory underground. The only problem is that they’re so big you need a special truck called a derek to transfer them to the proper coordinates. The demo took us through an entire convoy of dereks attempting to deliver grind lifts. Your favorite Gears characters are back such as Baird and Epic is introducing some new ones. There is an unforced conscription occurring for humanity. Families who are desperate for food and protection can agree to send their father to war so that their family may be fed and sheltered. This is how you come to meet a new character named Dizzy. Dizzy sounds like your typical country boy from the south and he is piloting one of the dereks throughout the mission. I think we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot from him in the coming months toward release.

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Rocky and Bullwinke Hit Xbox Live This Week

Yee-haw Rocky and Bullwinkle for 800 MS points!

There’s a new addition to the family of party games available on Xbox 360! “Rocky and Bullwinkle” is available exclusively on Xbox LIVE Arcade, along with an enhanced version of the tank vs. tank action classic “Battlezone” this Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. GMT (1:00 a.m. PDT).

Based on the popular cartoon series of the 1960s, “Rocky and Bullwinkle” on Xbox LIVE Arcade is a fast and fun party experience packed with more than 100 micro games. Eight playable characters from Frostbite Falls are back in the living room, including Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha, Dudley Do-Right and many more. “Rocky and Bullwinkle” features five difficulty settings, as well as support for up to 12 players in local hot-seat mode.

The game takes visual inspiration from the 1960s with a decidedly retro art style, but the fun is as modern as it gets. In fact, cool cats who want to get up and move will enjoy 25 micro games that work with the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera. By moving around and expressing gestures – like rowing a boat or throwing darts – players can control the action in the game!

Developed by Zen Studios, “Rocky and Bullwinkle” will be available worldwide for 800 Microsoft Points and is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. For more details on “Rocky and Bullwinkle” please visit:

* http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/r/randbxboxlivearcade/
* www.rockyandbullwinklegame.com

“Battlezone” on Xbox LIVE Arcade adds exciting new multiplayer modes for up to two players both locally and over Xbox LIVE, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. Plus, players can use the Xbox LIVE Vision Cam to challenge opponents on the battle field. Combine these features with new special effects for weapon firing, impacts and explosions and this revamped version of “Battlezone” is a must-have classic that fans and newcomers will enjoy.

To score points in “Battlezone,” players must shoot and destroy the enemy’s brigade including a standard enemy tank, supertank and a flying saucer.

Created by Atari, an enhanced version and the original version of “Battlezone” will be available worldwide (with the exception of Korea and Japan) for 400 Microsoft Points and is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. For more details on “Battlezone” please visit:

* http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/b/battlezonexboxlivearcade/

Call of Duty 4 Live Fire Weekend 2008 on Xbox Live

Play during April 18 to 20th and win prizes every hour from points to the Grand Prize of an Xbox 360 elite signed by the Dev Team from Infinity Ward with a limited edition face plate. Also, on Friday night between 6-9 PM EST you can play with over two dozen developers from CoD4!

Santa Monica, CA – April 10, 2008 – Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) has recruited Activision, Inc., (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Infinity Ward to provide prizes for its newest online offensive: Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare™ LIVE Fire Weekend 2008, a 72-hour play and win sweepstakes full of games and prizes beginning on Friday, April 18 at 12:01 a.m. EDT through Sunday, April 20 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Hourly prizes will be awarded throughout the weekend, including Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare shirts, Infinity Ward autographed posters and Xbox LIVE point cards. One Grand Prize winner also will receive an Infinity Ward autographed Xbox 360 Elite console and a Limited Edition Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare faceplate, among other items. Players can register now through April 17, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. EDT at www.xbox.com/livefire/.

In addition, on Friday, April 18 from 6-9 p.m. EDT, gamers can play with more than a dozen developers from Infinity Ward and then on Saturday night from 9-11 p.m. EDT Mixed Martial Arts phenom, Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver (gamertag: COD4JensPulver) will join the online action.

Add these gamertags to your friends list:














More details on the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare LIVE Fire weekend 2008 and information regarding terms, conditions, and official rules are available on the official event page: www.xbox.com/livefire/.

Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare™ Game of the Year Edition is now available and allows gamers to experience the intense cinematic action of the original, award-winning and best-selling title, and includes a token for the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Variety Map Pack, available now exclusively for download via Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Pirates vs. Ninjas Delayed, New Video

From this sucks file….Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball has been delayed. But hey, at least they released a new trailer. Check it out.

Xbox Live Spin of Death



Back in January you will remember the terrible network issues that plagued Xbox live and caused many gamer’s new Christmas gift to be rendered half useless. The issues went on for a few weeks and finally cleared themselves out. At the time user’s reported problems loading their dashboards, accessing the marketplace, and even jumping into games. I don’t ever remember receiving a clear cut answer as to what was wrong and what was done to resolve the issue. It seemed to eventually just fix itself. Many believe that at the time the user load for Xbox live was simply too large for the servers to handle all the requests coming in.

Fast forward to last Friday and the release of the Call of Duty 4 maps. The only release since the holiday problems that would be able to reproduce the amount of active traffic present over the holiday period of Xbox live. Though we do not have exact stats as of yet, you know a very large number of people went out and acquired the pack. A funny thing happened over the weekend, I couldn’t access the marketplace or Xbox live at all. I just the white load of death. This issue went on into Sunday for me and it’s pretty well documented across the community.

The interesting questions become, what happened this past weekend? Pure coincidence that Xbox live experienced issues during the release of the Call of Duty 4 map pack? What was done again over the last few months to resolve the load issues over Xbox live? Did Xbox live suffer another load issue? To Microsoft’s credit by Sunday the issues had been resolved but I can’t help but wonder just what the heck happened over the weekend again during what would have been a busy period. This sorts of issues did not begin to creep up until last holiday when live stats boasted of more than 10 million users. Has the service become so popular that maybe even Microsoft has taken a larger bite than even they can chew with the live service?

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