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Gears of War Judgment

Gears of War: Judgment, the 4th game in Epic’s Gears of War franchise, is out this week (Tuesday 3/19) and so far the reviews are mostly positive! Personally I was beginning to tire of the Gears series so it’s great to hear the positive feedback on the new game; most of which complements the tweaks Epic, and co-developer People Can Fly (Bulletstorm), made to the campaign’s structure. Of course, multiplayer is a big part of Gears of War and Judgment’s new mode OverRun is also getting high praise.

Let’s get to the reviews:

Polygon: Gears of War: Judgment provides multiple main player characters for the first time in the series, and each character's point of view and sometimes conflicting motivations for going off-mission are explored enough to flesh them out. People Can Fly do a workmanlike job in building a story that keeps the game moving, doesn't get in the way, and provides for great set pieces that belong, rather than plopping down random bits of bombast.

Those set pieces are oriented around the great, cover-based shooting that's driven all of the Gears of War games so far. You take cover against various surfaces, moving from one position to another with the A button, and aim around corners and the like with the left trigger. In this respect, Gears of War: Judgment is immediately familiar. But it's the additional wings built on top of Gears' now well-established foundation that make things interesting — like the dynamic spawning system. Rather than the static, scripted enemy spawning and positioning of previous Gears games, Gears of War: Judgment adapts to player strategy and play style by mixing up enemy types and tactics based on how you're playing the game.

IGN: Both story and gameplay really come together in the brilliant Declassify system. These optional objectives, which you can activate before most enemy encounters, trigger a challenging variable that handicaps (your) Kilo Squad. If a Declassify variable impairs your vision, adds stronger or more enemies, cuts your ammunition in half, or forces you to use specific weaponry, the way you play the encounter changes dramatically. Each of these awesome combat mods comes with a reasonable narrative conceit, too. An explosion, for instance, may cause a cloudy layer of dust to sweep through the battlefield and reduce your visibility.

Declassified sections also modify another of Judgment’s new wrinkles: the scoring system. Melee executions, explosions, and turning Locust into gibs increases your star rating during each encounter, and activating a Declassify option multiplies the rate at which you earn stars. Leaderboards and arcade scoring are one thing, but this is another of Judgment’s clever ploys to tinker with the way we play Gears. Knowing what scores big points can drive you in a specific direction – if you want to score big, maybe risking an explosive Torque Bow’s limited ammo instead of the Markza sniper rifle’s full clip is worth your while. Judgment’s evaluation of skill is rewarding in its own right, especially when you know you’ve conquered a tough Declassify mission.

Destructoid: This focus on leveling and winning things leads to Judgment's campaign having a lot more of an "arcade" feel than prior installments. Missions are very short, lasting a few minutes at most, which leads to the already basic story feeling segmented. However, the trade-off is a faster, more chaotic, more varied solo and cooperative experience which, coupled with the declassified extras, leads to an altogether different type of Gears that players are used to. Whether fighting in a room covered in thick dust and full of sword-wielding Therons, or defending a position with sentry bots and turrets, Judgment constantly switches things up on the player, and the bite-sized nature of individual missions leads to a feeling of greater replayability.

Eurogamer: What pushes Judgment over the line from "pretty good" to "pretty great" is multiplayer. Not the same old versus matches that have been a staple of the series since 2006, nor the wave-based Survival mode, nor the late addition of a basic free-for-all deathmatch, nor or the King of the Hill variant, Domination. Those are all fine, but standard fare. No, the secret weapon in Judgment's arsenal is OverRun, a hybrid game mode that pulls together the best elements of the series' online play into something epic and satisfying.

At heart, OverRun is a close relation to Battlefield's Rush mode. The COG team is on the defensive, holding back a player-controlled team of Locusts and (hopefully) preventing them from opening sealed Emergence Holes. Fail twice and the humans have to fall back to protect a generator. If the Locusts destroy that, it's all over. Similarly, if the COG can hold the line until the round timer runs out, the Hammer of Dawn fires up and obliterates the monsters.

With a fuss-free class system and tight, well-planned maps, OverRun is Gears multiplayer at its best, combining the strongest elements of deathmatch and survival game types into one nail-biting experience. There's a great balance between frantic action and tactical collaboration, while the addition of some verticality - reachable by the Scout class for sniping duty - subtly changes the ebb and flow. It's a mode where players of any skill level can find room to shine, but only the best will emerge with the medals and ribbons.

Sounds good, right? Is Gears of War: Judgment a day 1 purchase for you? Let me know!

Defiance, SyFy’s upcoming science fiction TV series that’s intertwined with an MMO video game of the same name, premieres Monday April 15th at 9/8c. We’ve talked almost exclusively about the game but today we snuck a look at the making of the TV show.

In the clip below, series leads Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas discuss the relationship between their characters, Nolan and Irisa, which is central to the show. On a war ravaged future Earth, rough around the edges human outsider Nolan takes knife wielding alien Irisa under his wing. Nolan serves as a de facto father for Irisa and the unlikely pair tries to survive in the town of Defiance.

Check out Making of Defiance Chapter 6: Nolan and Irisa:

What’d you think? I’m definitely ready to check out this show (and the game). Are you?

Tags: G4, TV, Videos

Robot Combat League featuring George “Star Wars” Lucas and his daughter!

Robot Combat League, SyFy’s killer new Tuesday night (10/9c) competition show where human controlled robots battle for dominance, features a special guest on tonight's episode who’s very familiar with robots: George Lucas! George’s daughter Amanda is part of the crew that controls a devastating robot called Robo Hammer and George drops by to offer some coaching tips.

Check out the clip below:

To learn more about SyFy’s Robot Combat League check out their official website. Have you seen this show yet? What do you think?

Crysis 3 Is Out Now - The Reviews Are In!

G4Staff

Posted February 22, 2013 - By G4 Staff




Crysis 3 Is Out Now And The Reviews Are In!

Crysis 3, the 3rd installment of Crytek’s always visually impressive, yet narratively murky, first person shooter series is out now and the game is getting favorable marks across the board.

We’re playing it here (on the Xbox 360) and it looks fantastic. So-so enemy AI seems to be the only thing really holding the single player experience back (although it never ruins the experience). Crysis 3 introduces a lethal compound bow to your arsenal. The bow can kill just about anything in one shot, and it allows you to remain cloaked when firing, so there’s never really any reason to use another weapon. For some, that’s making the game less enjoyable. Me? I feel like the Predator and isn’t that sorta what Crysis is all about? The multiplayer experience, in particular Hunter Mode, is a lot of fun and plays a lot better than the demo did.

We're really enjoying the game and if you’re an FPS fan that’s looking for something to play, this might be the game for you – but don’t just take our word for it:

IGN: “The biggest reason that Crysis 3 is such a consistent joy to play is because its control system is near flawless. The fact that you can quickly augment your weapons with different sights and grips without retreating into menu screens, or the ability to quickly pull out a grenade by double-tapping the weapon-switching button; it all works wonderfully and means there’s never any kind of artificial interface standing in the way of your natural instincts."

Game Informer: “From the gorgeous water effects and global illumination to the detailed character animations and photo-realistic environments, Crysis 3 is one of the best-looking games on the planet. I often found myself activating the cloaking device while in the presence of enemies just to watch a frog hop along the jungle floor or to regard the wind effects on a canvased shipping container."

Game Spot: “Crysis 3 is neither a pure linear shooter in the way popularized by Call of Duty, nor an open-world romp like Far Cry 3. Instead, its levels are sometimes large but always manageable, giving you freedom to put as much room between you and your foes as you like. The nanosuit encourages further experimentation, once again allowing you to activate the aforementioned cloak mode (which renders you invisible) and armor mode (which lets you soak up more damage). And once again, you can leap a good distance should you wish to reach higher ground in a hurry."

Destructoid: “While Crysis 3 boasts the usual offering of deathmatch and capture-and-hold modes, the Hunter gametype by far stands as its jewel in the crown. This mode pits two nanosuited players against a larger squad of Cell operatives, armed only with their basic weapons and innate wit. Hunters are perpetually cloaked and armed with deadly bows, and any Cell player they eliminate will respawn as a Hunter. The goal for the hunters is to wipe out Cell, while all Cell has to do is survive for the allotted timeframe. While such elimination modes have been present in other games, it's an absolute blast here."

Have you had a chance to play Crysis 3? What do you think?

Halo 4

The Halo franchise has a long history with map packs - some good, some bad - but ongoing and ever present. These map packs have been important in keeping players engaged with the franchise between new entries in the series. Yes, sometimes they’ve felt like filler, but fortunately for players, the Majestic Map Pack does not. In fact, it feels like some of the most “pure” multiplayer Halo mapmaking in years.

The pack comprises three extremely small maps: Monolith, Skyline, and Landfall, making for great small teams or free-for-all matches.

Read More »

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Sony just announced the PS4 and said it will be available this Holiday Season (2013).

We'll have a much more detailed breakdown of Sony’s (2 and ½ hour) announcement for you shortly but the biggest takeaways were Sony’s laser focus on streamlined social integration, connectivity options even when you are away from the console, and upgraded background processing (reduced download times). A few new games were announced (Killzone: Shadow Fall, inFamous: Second Son) and Chris Metzen from Blizzard revealed Diablo 3 will be coming to the PS4 and PS3.

Nothing during the announcement knocked my socks off but it’s still early and we don’t know much.

Full story coming shortly!

Tags: G4, Videogames

Video Hacker, a creative/ production services team based in Northern Ireland, released a trailer for their new comedy web series The Clandestine today. The show is about a group of geeks who form an outlaw motorcycle club and hijinks ensue. Think Sons of Anarchy meets The Office. Fun premise, right?

Check out the trailer below (keep in mind it's NSFW so keep the volume low and/ or use headphones):

The Clandestine premieres on March 25th, 2013. Sign up at TheClandestine.TV to see all 13 episodes weeks before its premiere.

What'd you do think? Ready for episode 1?

Tags: G4, Videos

The Last of Us Hands-On Preview:

We’ve finally been able to get our hands on Sony’s The Last of Us, to see if the hype around this survival horror game stacks up. The game comes from Naughty Dog, who has already established that they know how to provide action with the Uncharted series, but rather than focusing on loot plundering, The Last of Us is meant to be a terrifying escort mission, taking you across a dystopian United States.

Read More »


God of War: Ascension Hands-On Preview - A Softer, Multiplaying Kratos

God of War: Ascension is just over a month from launch, an approaching event that's increasingly been cause for alarm. After all, we haven’t even seen the single-player since last summer at E3, and while a multiplayer beta just recently wrapped, it just wasn’t the same God of War experience we’ve come to expect from this Sony tentpole that's made itself synonymous with over-the-top, first-person action gaming.

More to the point is that Ascension is a prequel to the entire series, giving us a look at Kratos before he was Kratos: the armed-to-the-teeth warrior who bellows anger at the gods while battling through impossible scenarios against supposedly immortal foes. By toying with the formula, Sony and their Santa Monica Studio would risk neglecting what's made GoW such a hit in the first place.

Read More »

Tags: G4, TV, Videogames

Star Wars Pinball Available for Download in February

Zen Studios, the game developer and publisher best known for their popular Pinball FX franchise, announced Star Wars Pinball today. Developed in partnership with LucasArts, Star Wars Pinball will feature all new Star Wars themed tables and be available for download in February 2013 on most digital platforms (i.e. Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Google Play, Apple App Store). The first, 3 table pack will be based on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Pretty solid choices if you ask me.

“It’s been over 30 years since Star Wars, video games, and solid state pinball all burst onto the entertainment scene, and their popularity endures today. We’re excited to be combining all three for the very first time,” said Neil Sorens, Zen Studios’ Creative Director. “Our designers are huge Star Wars fans, and you can expect every detail in every table to reflect their passion for the Star Wars universe."

Each Star Wars table will feature different moments from the Star Wars universe with interactive 3D characters and unique gameplay. Check out the trailer below:

Star Wars Pinball Announcement Trailer »


So we’re getting new Star Wars movies AND a new Star Wars pinball game? If McDonald’s brings back those lead paint based Star Wars novelty glasses it’ll be 1982 all over again. What do you think?


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Grand Theft Auto V Release Date Announced

Rockstar Games announced today that Grand Theft Auto V will be released on Xbox 360 and PS3 on September 17th, 2013. Mark your calendars, clear your schedules, stock up on Mountain Dew (or actually don't, Dew contains a questionable food additive called BVO - Google it) and get ready to dive head first into Rockstar’s latest magnum opus. Too soon to call it a magnum opus? Nope!

"Grand Theft Auto V continues to push the series forward in new ways; Rockstar North are creating our deepest, most beautiful and most immersive world yet," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "We are very excited for people to learn more about the game in the coming months."

Me, I don’t need/want to know anything else. Get me this game! What do you think? Pumped? Bored? Indifferent about the GTA series? Let me know in the comments.

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Dust 514

When you’re doing something as revolutionary as CCP is with Dust 514, it can be easy to focus on the bigger aspects and forget about the basic gameplay mechanics that make modern shooters as popular as they are, but, thankfully, through the help of a year-long closed Beta, Dust 514 is continually getting closer to the standards set out by other heavy hitters in the genre while also creating new milestones along the way.

Dust 514 isn’t meant to be just another shooter, but rather, it takes a stance against stagnant innovation by turning the console shooter market on its head with a free-to-play, massively-multiplayer, first-person shooter available to anyone who has a PlayStation 3. That’s huge.

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Rare Skyrim Statue and More Up For Bidding in X-Play and Child's Play Charity Auction!

Here's your chance to bid on some awesome memorabila and all for a good cause! X-Play is auctioning off a rare Skyrim statue, a limited edition Halo 4 Xbox console and a copy of X-Play's final script. The latter two items are signed by Morgan Webb, Blair Herter, Kristin Adams and the X-Play staff!

All proceeds go to Child's Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in their network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. They set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for children in hospitals.

The weeklong auction ends in only a few hours, so get in there now and don't miss out on your chance to bid using the links below. It's for the children!

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 6-Foot Statue

2. Xbox 360 S Limited Edition Halo 4 Bundle 320GB

3. Signed Script From the Final X-Play Episode

Child's Play Auction - Skyrim Statue, Halo 4 Console, X-Play Script »


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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK
RAVENSWORD: SHADOWLANDS
iOS ($6.99)

Ravensword: Shadowlands is the highly anticipated sequel to Ravensword: Aralon, and even though we thought that one couldn’t get any better, Ravensword 2 has met all our lofty expectations and then some, offering an expansive world filled with magic, adventure, and lore. Tyreas is under siege after a war against the dark elves goes wrong, and it’s your destiny to seek the three Ravenstones that will provide passage to the Shadowlands, where you’ll confront the demon trying to rip the world asunder.

If you’ve been looking for the equivalent of Skyrim on your iOS device, Shadowlands is the closest you’re gonna get, with jaw-dropping environments, open-world exploration options, and loads of quests and combat to slake your RPG lust. There’s even the requisite character customization at the game’s outset and the ability to purchase and furnish houses. Both options are pretty impressive, especially for a mobile title.

The controls, combat, and leveling mechanics smoothly propel the game forward, and the storyline is engaging (albeit a bit recycled from standard fantasy tropes). The talent system is well balanced, and we love that it lets us mold characters to our desires instead of forcing us into one particular skillset. Ravensword: Shadowlands is a stellar iOS game and sets the bar for mobile RPGs delightfully high. 

--Read More-

UNDERGROUND KINGDOM
iPad ($2.99)

As kids, we were obsessed with Choose Your Own Adventure books, so we're thrilled that after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Underground Kingdom has gone live on the App Store. It’s an interactive storybook that brings the CYA series into the digital age, with the original author of the series, Edward Packard, on board and providing his favorite stories to Visual Baker Studios for translation into interactive Gamebooks.

Underground Kingdom revolves around a deep crevasse in Greenland, where it's rumored that a black hole at the center of the earth is potentially a portal into a vast, strange world inside our planet. It’s up to you to navigate the book and choose wisely during your travels. This interactive book is a brilliant re-imagining of the original series, and we're hoping to see more Gamebook releases as time goes on.

Full disclosure: The writer of this article was totally a Kickstarter backer of Underground Kingdom, because CYA books wrote much of her youth.

WIDE SKY
iPhone ($0.99)

Wow, Wide Sky is a weird game. Created by one man, Marcus Eckert, Wide Sky delves into the strange world of laboratory testing, ropes, and hedgehogs. According to the game, hedgehogs “have wicked souls and need guidance,” and you’ll help occupy them with rope training and swinging from the clouds. Like we said, weird. But also oddly awesome in its own way.

Obviously, you can’t just swing around for no reason, so Wide Sky adds in a collecting element via orbs in the sky. Breaking them and grabbing the shards is the name of the game, and you’ll have a set time in which to do it for each level. There are a variety of ropes (some with special powers to activate in-game) that provide unique challenges while you play, and though it all sounds bizarre, Wide Sky comes together in a very charming way, making it a worthy title for your iPhone or iPod.

WAVE TRIP
iOS ($1.99)

Wave Trip is a musical game unlike most we’ve ever played on iOS. And it’s hard. We’ll explain that in a bit, but before that, you should probably know what Wave Trip is all about. This is a little side-scrolling game where you’ll control a ship, collect stuff, and avoid hazards. Normally, this would seem pretty status quo, but when you mix in a song that unfolds as you collect coins and other objects, it takes the game into a cool, abstract place we’re really into.

It’s a pretty fun concept, and the artwork is just the right amount of abstract to match the game content. However, there is a crazy learning curve in Wave Trip, one that may frustrate newer iOS gamers and even turn off veteran players. It takes a good while to “get” the looser control scheme, but overall, it’s a solid effort that’s worth checking out, especially if you love a challenge.

SUPERSIGHT
iOS (FREE)

SuperSight Trailer from Preloaded on Vimeo.

This is a whole week of beautiful and strange games, and SuperSight continues that trend with a quirky little title that began as a flash game. You play as a warrior learning how to achieve “Clear Sight” through a series of challenges atop Mount Wrong. As you play, you’ll learn new abilities to aid in your quest for “Clear Sight” and replenish your ability pool with coins collected from beating up bad guys.

SuperSight combines a highly stylized look with a zen-inducing soundtrack, offering an interesting experience that’s neither totally relaxing nor overly adrenaline pumping. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is different. Since it’s free, we’re happy to recommend giving SuperSight a whirl. Don’t be surprised though if you don’t understand it. We’re still not sure if we do.

Ashley Esqueda is a host, cylon, and all-around mobile nerd who also works for Mobile Nations and runs an obscenity-laden tech podcast called Techfoolery. If you're playing a game you think should be in Knuckle Up, follow her on Twitter or circle her on Google+ and send it over!

Call it rude, call it sour grapes, call it what you will. But on their final episode, with nothing to lose, X-Play is spoiling in three minutes the endings to some of the biggest games you've ever played.

X-Play Spoils Everything »


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