Tuesday, May 27, 2008

GOW 2 Versus Multiplayer Mode

A world-exclusive preview in the pages of X360 Magazine has revealed the very first info on the new gameplay mechanics and features added to the versus multiplayer mode of Gears of War 2.

Epic Games’ motto continues to be “Bigger, Better and More Badass” with the addition of new weapons, maps, game types, features and characters. To begin with, the maximum amount of players per team has been increased to 5, so the sequel to Gears of War still maintains the intimacy of the series while now allowing up to 10 players to play this mode.

Finish Him!

The downed mechanic returns in Gears of War 2, but this time, executions have been vastly improved and expanded, with all action buttons on the Xbox 360 controller now firing up a beautiful coup de grace.

As in Gears 1, pressing the X button will perform a curb stomp, but now the rest of the buttons offer even more sadistic ways to finish your enemies. The B button will perform a weapon-specific execution and X360 Magazine witnessed how a sniper rifle turned into a deadly golf club that smashes heads to smithereens.

More humiliating than a curb stomp will be the punch-to-death finishing move that the Y button fires up, which can be seen in this sequence from the recent Assault demo:

As in campaign mode, the A button will give you the chance to grab your downed opponent and use it as a meat shield (since the term human shield won’t apply when grabbing a Locust). The hijacked body will tear apart as it receives incoming hits. The player that has been grabbed instantly goes back into the spawn queue, which leads us to the new gameplay mechanics found in the different game types.

New and Updated Game Types

Assassination (renamed Guardian) has been altered so now everyone respawns until the teams’ leaders (whose positions will appear on the opponent team’s HUD) are killed; once leaders are dead, the match will end when the rest of the team is dead. A new game type shown to X360 Magazine called “Wingman” will split players into teams of two, with each couple featuring the same character twice. A typical Wingman match will have people seeing double, as there will be a team of two Marcus Fenixs fighting a team of two Dominic Santiagos or Cold Trains. This visual technique will make very easy to distinguish your teammate and opponent team.


Perhaps the coolest new game type is “meatflag,” a reimagined capture the flag in which, as its name suggests, has the flag replaced by a meat shield. The twist of “meatflag” is that the flag will be an AI-controlled character found in the center of a map, who will confront with whoever comes near. The goal of both teams will be to take this living flag down and transform it onto a meat shield to take it to the ring of light flashing on the team’s camp. Another hilarious twist of this game type is that the meat shield won’t decay with the opponent’s attack as in campaign mode. Instead, this will cause the meat shield to be at liberty again, thus becoming an instant menace to the player who was carrying him around. Furthermore, this meat shield character will have his own place in the leaderboard.

New and Improved Weapons

As you would expect, there is new weaponry in Gears of War 2, but even more important is the fact that weapons’ gameplay mechanics have been improved. In versus multiplayer, weapons now cycle, so the basic set will spawn in the same place, while special weapons will spawn randomly. This will dissuade those players that love to camp near a longshot sniper rifle or the boomshot. Speaking of exploiters, as Cliff already anticipated, there are many optimizations that will finally put an end to those cheap techniques abused in the first game. All weapons now have a stopping power that will impede adversaries to run towards you, so the shotgun trick will no longer be a practice. In addition to its stopping power, now weapons will also destroy covers other than the Mansion sofas.

Another indirect improvement to weapons is the fact that they are no longer seen when staying behind cover, as characters now stay farther from the corner edges, keeping weapons hidden. This little but important tweak will give a hard time to snipers.

Among the improved weapons stands out the Hammerburst, which will fire as fast as you can fan the right trigger, but the faster you tap it, the more recoil. Grenades can now be stuck anywhere, from enemies as in the first game, to floors, ceilings and walls. A look at the Unreal Engine 3 demo from GDC 2008 gives you a good idea of the consequences of attaching grenades to these surfaces.

Smoke grenades are back, but this time they produce a stun effect that ragdolls everyone within its blast range.

Speaking of smoke grenades, there’s a new variant that has poison gas, which produces a cloud of smoke that kills any one that breathes it. When stuck onto enemies, they will die slowly and if they get too close to their team mates, they will also injure them.

The preview also revealed a new gun called the Medusa, a big metal shield that can be used as a portable cover and the Scorcher, a flamethrower that impressed X360 Magazine with its realistic fire simulation.

Badass Characters

This article has also revealed new characters. X360 Magazine was impressed by how Dizzy resembled Chuck Norris and they also show for the first time how Tai Kaliso looks like in the game. With his aboriginal tattoos, this badass character reminds you the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands and would certainly dispute the Coolest Guy in Sera title to Marcus Fenix.

The article also revealed new Locust Drones with helmets that make the Haze and Halo 3 multiplayer armors look outdated.

There are many more new features and items revealed in this article, such as the ability to take screenshots. If you live in the old continent, we encourage you to grab this issue. North American Gearheads should wait for EGM to feature a similar preview next month.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Frank O'Connor Leaves Bungie

The latest weekly Bungie Update has revealed that Frank O'Connor is leaving the studio to continue working on the Halo franchise at Microsoft:

I am off to work more closely with Microsoft on the Halo franchise, so I shan’t be too far away, but I wanted to take this last chance, appropriately enough in a Weekly Update, to tell you a very fond thanks.

It was very hard for me to make the decision to move on, but one thing that made it just a bit easier, was seeing the amazing work that’s coming down the pipe. I was busy working on a story for one of our next games, an experience that is destined to surprise, amaze and entertain like nothing we’ve ever made before. That game has an amazing team invested in it, and one that will be tasked with building the Next Big Thing. You should see what they’ve already achieved, you truly should.

Greenpeace Finds Hazardous Substances in Consoles

Did you know that your Xbox 360 may interfere with your sexual development? In its new report called “Playing Dirty”, Greenpeace detected the use of hazardous chemicals and materials in all new video game systems. From the report:

The game consoles all contained high levels of bromine - used in circuit boards and plastic casings. Brominated flame retardants do not break down easily and build up in the environment. Long-term exposure can lead to impaired learning and memory functions. They can also interfere with thyroid and oestrogen hormone systems and exposure in the womb has been linked to behavioural problems.

Components of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation3 also contained high levels of phthalates, one of which – DEHP – is known to interfere with sexual development in mammals: including humans and, especially, males.

TimeShift Gets Free Map Pack

Atari has released five brand new maps for the Timeshift multiplayer mode. This Map Pack contains 5 maps all of which support One-on-One, Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch. For TimeShift's new multiplayer modes, Akasen Blues, SmokeStack Lightning, and Jump, Jive an' Wail all support King of Time, while Dust My Broom supports Meltdown Madness. If Capture the Flag is your game of choice, there are two new maps to support it as well, Dust My Broom, and Beware, Brother, Beware!

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Gameplay Trailer

Dead Space 'Story' trailer HD

GOW 2 Gameplay

Thursday, May 8, 2008

ET: Quake Wars 'Projectile Dysfunction' HD

2Old 2Pwn Party in San Antonio

San Antonio

July 5th, 2008

Help send Ken off in style and Pwn in Person!

Start making reservations now Biotches.
The date is set, and the beer is chilling!

Tentative Schedule of Events:
Thursday, July 3rd - River Walk for Dinner if you are in town.
Friday, July 4th - Sea World anyone?
Saturday, July 5th - 10am to 2pm Party at Cary's Place in Spring Branch, TX.
Late Afternoon head to Dave and Buster's for Public Pwnage!

Sound off like you have a pair!!! Write in the comments section if you are coming!

More details to follow, we just wanted to get the word out so everyone can start making plans.

See you there!