Splinter Cell Conviction Preview

Amidst several consulting jobs, I was happily able to visit Microsoft’s XO10 conference, where I got a hands-on session with two of the Splinter Cell Conviction’s first levels.  For impressions, check my preview at GamesRadar.com.

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New Red Dead Redemption Video: The Law

Well, this isn’t exactly mind blowing, but Rockstar released a new Red Dead Redemption video called “The Law.” Since I’m still betting on the notion that this will be a GTA in the Wild West (the idea that Rockstar has floated to the press), I’m still amped about its April 27 arrival.

But it could be a less than profitable bet. This this was far less impressive video than I was expecting. The video played really slowly on my computer, and I’m hoping that was my computer and not the actual game or framerate of the game. Otherwise, dear lord are we in trouble.

Also, a couple of non-deliberate instances made me laugh. Marshall Leigh Johnson says, “The man who kills the boss of that bunch gets $50!”

The boss of that bunch? What, is he like a Japanese video game character? And…$50???!!! That’s like one lunch in San Francisco. Not so compelling. I’d rather join the bad guys.

Agent Edgar Ross seems like a creep bad guy, but when you hear the line, “We’re the bad guys…” you kinda have to wonder, have they hired a new, young script-writer who secretly loved Young Guns? The language in this trailer just wasn’t all that impressive for a Rockstar game, and now I’m feeling a little less of the super hype and more of a grounded feeling.

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Charmed by 9

Just rented the movie “9.” Those little sackboy characters were super cool, and despite being a little simplistic, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Custom Mario Tunes on Rock Band Network

Found this Super Mario 64 Bowser battle Theme on YouTube–and love it.  Wouldn’t it be great if these got approved? I’d pay money for all of the Mario 64 tunes.

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O’Reilly/Stewart Faceoff– Uncut Video

Just had a great time watching Jon Stewart on O’Reilly’s show. Stewart definitely holds his own, and he is very, very funny indeed.

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Monster Hunter Tri, Lost Planet 2, Final Fight: Double Impact, and Super Street Fighter IV get release dates

Capcom today released the dates of its spring line-up, featuring Monster Hunter Tri, Lost Planet 2, Final Fight: Double Impact, and Super Street Fighter IV for North America and Europe.

Capcom hopes to replicate the popularity that Monster Hunter Tri had in Japan in the West on Nintendo’s Wii this April. Lost Planet 2 will arrive on PS3 and Xbox 360 in Europe and North America May 18, 2010. Final Fight: Double Impact will hit the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE as DLC sometime this spring, while Super Street Fighter IV will hit the consoles as a full retail game April 27, 2010.

Capcom is likely to announce new titles for later this year and 2011 at E3 this summer.

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Mass Effect 2 review scores

Having traveled to Bioware’s offices in Edmonton, Canada, last December, to write a cover story on Mass Effect 2 for Play Magazine, I was really impressed with the near final title. I am now giddy to see the early scores coming in so high.

My associate at IGN, Eric Brudvig, penned this review, scoring the game a 9.6, and hailing the sequel as fulfilling the promises of the first one, while pushing the standard concept of videogames forward. Check out Eric’s review here. “From the very first scene, you will be hooked. And the farther you dive into this epic action role-playing game, the better it gets,” he says. The Official Xbox Magazine gave Mass Effect2 a 9.5 out of 10 and IGN Australia handed out a 9.3 out of 10.

When I visited Bioware’s offices in December 2009, I was blown away by the drastic improvements made in the shooting aspects of the game, the smoother, smarter presentation, and the overall level polish of the controls. In the three levels I played I faced up against a nasty mech boss, explored the new vessel, the SSV Normandy SR-2, and unkocked the secret of the new Krogan.

If you have watched any TV for the last week, you’ll have seen several new commercials for Mass Effect 2. The latest one is the biggest and best, airing during the NFC championship game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. Created using “hype” quotes from magazines such as Edge, Game Informer, etc., and using clever cuts aimed at Shepard’s ability to recruit rough, fringe characters to join his suicide mission into the darkest part of the universe, the commercial makes Mass Effect 2 look like a real kick-ass game. Time Magazine, not known for having any real idea of what the difference is between Super Mario 64 and Ford Racing, came in with this interesting quote. “It’s the Avatar of video games – except it’s better written.”

Thankfully, the commercials aren’t false representations and neither is IGN’s review. Mass Effect 2, exclusive to the Xbox 360 and PC for now, is going to be one of the best games of 2010.

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