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June 4, 2007

Xbox 360 – Forza Motorsports 2 Released!

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 8:19 am

That should be all we need to say on the matter, but I’ll expound a bit. Forza 2 is the racing title that most driving aficionados have been waiting anxiously for on the Xbox360. Everything that has come in-between has been just filler for the driving simulation which many have hailed as the most realistic and fun racing title created thus far. Forza 2 developers expressed a desire to put as much accuracy and realism as possible into the title, but wherever realism would impact on fun, fun wins. A fine example of this is the fact that you don’t have to pay out your nose to repair car damage between races and in online races damage is automatically repaired. Accurate? Considering the cost of car repairs probably not, but does it add to the fun: most certainly. After all, the game is about driving to the limits of your car’s performance against engaging AI or Real Life opponents, not about balancing your chequebook!

Forza 2 carries on the tradition of Forza providing an evolutionary upgrade to that solid racing foundation. Gameplay is more accessible and online multiplayer options are more robust and varied. Cars can be bought and sold via the Forza Motorsports website.There are automatic Tournaments and special tournaments that will be run on a regular basis.

Driving is, of course, excellent. The physics have been improved in Forza 2 and the cars feel incredible tearing around corners on the track. The game’s physics provide a true driving difference between each and every car in the game that the player will actually notice.

The usual driving assists are there as well as a new Suggested Line feature that only displays the suggested line on the corners.

Forza 2 now has an average review score of about 89% over at GameRankings where you can access several reviews from top gaming sites to make your own decision.

I strongly recommend Forza 2 as a Must Buy for any racing fan regardless of what platform you’re accustomed to. Gamers who are into racing, Forza 2 is a reason to buy an Xbox360.

Useful Links:

Forza Motorsport 2 Site

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May 12, 2007

Xbox360 – Forza Motorsport 2

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 7:23 am

The Demo for Forza Motorsport 2 has been released on Xbox Live! The Demo features over 20 cars from class C, A and R. There is one track that you can race on.

My impression of the demo was…well…meh. It looks and feels like the original Forza. I don’t know if that is fair, I’ve been playing a bit of TestDrive Unlimited and the graphics in Forza did not really wow me, especially the track graphics which look quite plain. The cars are well done, especially the damage modelling when a multitude of parts can break off depending on how hard you smack that barrier.

The game also adds penalties for hitting other cars or running off the road. There is an overlay of indicators which show the lateral and longitudanal G-Forces on the car, as well as a Drafting indicator that describes just how much you are drafting behind the car in-front.

The Suggested Line has an option to only display on the surface of the track when you need to slow down for a turn, otherwise it remains invisible.

Forza 2 has several more features than its predecessor,and my 20 minutes spent with the Demo were enjoyable. Somehow, though, I was expecting a lot more in the graphics department than what I saw.

May 3, 2007

PC Games – Splinter Cell : Conviction info released lol!

Filed under: PC Games, Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 3:20 am

I just found this quite amusing. Evil Avatar reports that some tid bits about Splinter Cell : Conviction, the next game in the Splinter Cell series, have been released. You remember the last Splinter Cell don’t you? The bug ridden and utterly horrid Splinter Cell:Double Agent? The game had issues even on the consoles, and was an utter mess of scrambled graphics, bad performance and gameplay bugs on the PC. UBISOFT also made a decision not to support the game further and never released any fixes to solve the problems that the majority of gamers experienced with the title on the PC.

So now Sam Fisher’s being ‘Convicted’…how fitting!

Apparently in this new version Sam is pulled back into that ultra secretive secret organisation known as Third Echelon to protect the body behind the pretty voice that feeds him Intel. But Third Echelon has gone Third World and now gives him bad intelligence, incorrect equipment drops and apparently generally mismanages things.

Hurrah! Now the frustration is going to be actually built into the gameplay itself!

*chuckle* ^_^

Check the link for more info.

April 10, 2007

Xbox360 – Keyboard controller attachment coming soon.

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 6:12 am

360keyboardattachment.jpgFor those that want to type in chats while they play, Microsoft is releasing a small Qwerty keyboard attachment for the standard Xbox360 controller. This as opposed to simply creating a peripheral similar to the ‘Phantom Lapboard’ keyboard mouse combo :). This will mesh nicely with the new Spring Update for the 360 which is supposed to include integration with MSN Live Messenger.

phantomlapboard.jpg
phantom Lapboard.

April 8, 2007

PC Games- Test Drive Unlimited, Rise Of The Console Ports.

Filed under: PC Games, Windows VISTA, Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 8:43 am

Hello gentle reader, I’ve just been racing around a lovely Hawaii island in a Lamborghini! Test Drive Unlimited features amazing terrain which encompasses an entire island in Hawaii, complete with buildings, gorgeous foliage and breathtaking views of the ocean. You have an incredible assortment of luxury automobiles ranging from Ferraris to high end Concept Vehicles which have to be unlocked. Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, Ferrari,Ascari, Aston Martin, they are all here. Perhaps one manufacturer notably absent is BMW. A limited selection of the best motorcycle brands such as Triumph and Ducatti are also added for a bit of risky fun on the roads. The game supports several different types of events including the standard Race mode. There are Fastest Time races, Speed Trap, Package Delivery, Male Model Delivery, and Female Model Delivery, and Sports Car Delivery. Some of these missions have damage meters which decrease each time you run off the road or hit oncoming traffic.

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February 28, 2007

Xbox360 – Mass Effect fits on one disc!

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 1:31 pm

They thought it could never be done, but Mass Effect has managed to fit on just one DVD for the Xbox 360. Mass Effect is a true Next Generation title featuring incredible graphics, extensive music scores and a wide open world for gamers to explore. The game is done in the vein of Knights of The old Republic…only better *chuckle* 🙂 .

One has to wonder, if with a bit of effort developers are able to fit games within the 8GB limits of our standard DVD media, do we really need so called High Definition media such as HD-DVD and BluRay for gaming? The only DVD-based game that I have played recently which came on multiple DVDs is Flight Simulator X, and this was because it contained scenery for nearly the entire planet.

February 23, 2007

Gaming-Mercenaries 2 to ship for PC, Xbox360,PS2 and PS3

Filed under: PC Games, Sony PS2, Sony PS3, Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 1:16 am

Electronic Arts and Pandemic Studios today announced that Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, will ship simultaneously on four platforms worldwide – the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PLAYSTATION 3 and PC – in holiday 2007.”

Mercenaries was a really fun game in which you played a mercenary working for various factions in an open ended ‘sandbox’ type world. You could call in helicopter drops of supplies and weapons with money earned from missions, which you obtained from each faction. As you completed missions for a particular faction, the other factions attitudes toward you would change with some becoming hostile, and others friendly depending on which of their members you wiped out. Gameplay was engaging and the excitement of sniping a pilot and hopping into the cockpit of his helicopter was something that should be experienced at least once in gaming.

February 22, 2007

Consoles- Boxes fly off the shelves for January

Filed under: PC Games, Sony PS3, Wii, Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 3:23 am

The latest figures are in,and January has been an amazing month for the sale of game consoles. Software sales totalled US$549 million dollars up an impressive 53% over the same period last year. The figures on the hardware side are equally impressive:

Xbox360: 294,000 units sold

Wii: 436,000 units sold.

PS3: 244,000 units sold.

The Wii is the cheapest console on the market right now with the most unique control method, from my time with it the Wii is truly a family gaming machine that everyone can enjoy, and sales shoud remain strong as they release more games for the system. Currently the crop of Wii titles are abysmal, and personally I’m not playing my Wii very much past Wii sports and Zelda. When the titles designed specifically for the Wii start hitting market expect everyone that owns a Wii to be rushing to the stores.

Now, if we could just have a similar control setup for the Xbox360! 🙂

January 7, 2007

Xbox360- Second Xbox360 version revealed. Codename-Zephyr

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 8:56 am

Images of a second version of the Xbox360 system have begun to leak on various websites across the Internet. This new version is supposed to support HDMI output and have a cooler processor based on a 65nm process. The Xbox360 version 2 gets a 120GB hard disk and with the HDMI output can now push High Definition video in 1080p resolution. This appears to be all the information available on the system at present, techies hope that Microsoft will make an official announcement at CES2007 this coming week.

[info via engadget.com]

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Xbox360-Live Marketplace Usability

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 8:27 am

So, I’ve been trying to browse the Xbox Live Marketplace for downloadable movies. There is quite an impressive list, with mainstream titles such as Superman Returns (in High Def) as well as more obscure movies such as The Hunger.

While it is excellent that Xbox Live is showing how online movie distribution should be done, there are still some annoying limitations that I can’t understand. When you select a movie, if the movie’s description is too large for the preview area you need to wait a few seconds before it begins to scroll on its own. Now using the game controller I have a right thumbstick. Why can’t I use that to scroll the description up and down? In the few seconds it takes me to sit and wait for Xbox Live to decide to scroll the text, I could have finished reading and gone onto the next movie description. I suppose this is more ‘Lowest Common Denominator’ thinking at work, since most people will not finish read that block of text before it’s ready to scroll.

The second issue is the search options and the interface. What happens if I want to see all the movies that are available in High Def? Well I can’t. I need to scroll through the list of titles and check the preview window to see if the magical “HD Available” icon is there. Microsoft seems to have tried to provide some basic sorting, such as by Title, Studio, Most Recent, Most Downloaded etc. and that’s fine. But I would still like more options. What’s going to happen when their movie list extends to 200, maybe 300 movies? Sorting through them to find something you are interested in is going to be a chore. There needs to be some sort of advanced sorting option available where the user can enter titles, genre, studios, words in the description text etc. and pull up a list. In short, there needs to be “Microsoft Live Search” for the Xbox Marketplace.

 Now note, the above in no way detracts from the fact that Microsoft has put together an absolutely amazing service with Xbox Live. You can even get television series such as Southpark over Live! For anyone with their 360 tied to their home entertainment system, Live is a fantastic service and an excellent Value Add for the 360 over all the competition.

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