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Archive for May, 2011

Details for PlayStation Network and Qriocity Customer Appreciation Program in North America

Sony’s SCEA has finally released its plan to make it up to PlayStation and PSP owners by revealing their Customer Appreciation Program and the free games as well as extras we can come to expect when the PlayStation Store is finally up and running. Here’s the details that come from the PlayStation Blog:

Now that some PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have been restored and you’re once again enjoying online gaming and entertainment, we’re happy to provide details about the “Welcome Back” appreciation program for customers in North America. We developed the program as an expression of our gratitude for your patience, support and continued loyalty during the service outage. From all of us at PlayStation, thank you and welcome back!

This package will be made available to all existing registered PlayStation Network and Qriocity users in North America (US and Canada), and will be made available shortly after we have fully restored the service. More specific details about these offers and eligibility requirements will be posted as the services go live.

All PlayStation Network customers can select two PS3 games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

PLAYSTATION 3 Game List

Dead Nation
inFAMOUS
LittleBigPlanet
Super Stardust HD
Wipeout HD + Fury

For PSP owners, you will be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

PSP Game List

LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
ModNation Racers
Pursuit Force
Killzone Liberation

A selection of “On Us” rental movie titles will be available to PlayStation Network customers over one weekend, where Video Service is available. Those titles will be announced soon.

30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive an additional 60 days of free subscription.

Existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days of free premium subscription.

Additional 30 days + time lost for existing members of Music Unlimited Premium/Basic subscription free of charge for existing Premium/Basic members.

To welcome users Home, PlayStation Home will be offering 100 free virtual items. Additional free content will be released soon, including the next addition to the Home Mansion personal space, and Ooblag’s Alien Casino, an exclusive game.

We’d like to thank all of our publishing and development partners who’ve contributed to the Welcome Back program, including Bigbig Studios, Codeglue, Digital Leisure, Guerilla Games, Heavy Water, Housemarque, Lockwood, Loot, Mass Media, Media Molecule, SCE Cambridge Studios, SCE Studio Liverpool, SCE San Diego Studios, and Sucker Punch Productions. We couldn’t have created such a compelling package without them!

As a reminder, you will be able to access the above content shortly after services are fully restored. We are doing everything we can to make that happen as soon as possible. Please visit the following sites for more information about the Welcome Back program in Europe and Latin America.

OUR TAKE:  We love feeling appreciated and this is a really nice gesture from Sony seeing as these free games are actually excellent titles. If you haven’t played inFamous, for instance, there is no no excuse not to own this gem and LittleBigPlanet is a platform classic worth owning. If you’re a PSP owner, Killzone Liberation is a Must Have and Pursuit Force is a real blast.

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Categories: Gaming News Flash

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game – Xbox 360 Review

Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: TT Games
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, PC, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Adventure
MSRP: $49.99
ESRB: E10+
Release Date: May 10, 2011

Review By: Eduardo Zacarias

It was hard not to see this one coming but after having given LEGO versions of everything from the Star Wars universe to the magical world of Harry Potter; it was definitely about time the LEGO gaming franchise finally embraced the Pirates of the Caribbean series. As it turns out, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game for the Xbox 306 is a perfect fit for the series and makes for one fun game set in the high seas.

Much like past LEGO games, especially those with violent yet memorable scenes such as the ones you’d expect in the Indiana Jones movies, the violence takes a backseat to a more amiable adventure with more than enough action to make each level exciting. On top of that, the charming comedic – albeit still voiceless – interactions of the characters make for a good time whether you fit the game’s intended target audience age or not. LEGO Pirates manages to capture the feel, look and settings of all three films plus the upcoming On Stranger Tides movie.

The game starts from the very beginning as we are introduced, via a funny cut scene, to Captain Jack Sparrow who happens to be a pirate. It is on land that he meets the dashing (even for a LEGO character) Will Turner who always had eyes for the fair Elizabeth Swann. In an instant, these characters become a part of a grand adventure that spans the course of each film’s main events. You’ll find yourself joined by the familiar cast as well from Captain Barbossa to – personal favorite in the game – Davy Jones.

Traveller’s Tales does a great job making many memorable sequences from the films loads of fun to play such as when Jack Sparrow’s sword fight on a moving wheel or taking on Davy Jones’ assortment of cursed pirates. Like every LEGO game, you’ll have the ability to switch between characters with the push of a button or you can have a friend assume the role of the secondary character. You’ll need certain characters to carry out certain tasks. Elizabeth, for instance, has the ability to jump really high so you’ll need her to climb up to areas that Jack or Will can’t reach on their own.

Of course, all the other usual elements are back including collecting LEGO studs, unlocking new characters to use and the platforming bits that are a big part of every LEGO game. Of course, some of the best (and funny) stuff don’t come from the movie whether they involve monkeys, goats or pigs. Speaking of goats, Jack gets to ride one and it’s downright hilarious. There are even some great moments in the On Stranger Tides chapter of the game. I won’t spoil the plot but there are some interesting characters and situations that make this a really good part of the game.

Unfortunately, there are a few weak spots in the game and most of them will be familiar to anyone who picked up a LEGO title. You’ll often find yourself getting killed thanks to the other characters and oftentimes they will get themselves killed by falling off a ledge or crowding you so you’re the one who falls off the ledge. Enemies tend to respawn at the most inconvenient time when you’re concentrating on solving many of the game’s simple puzzles.

My biggest gripe is one of the more obvious, though, and that is the lack of online gameplay. How fun would it be to play with a friend online without split-screen? This game was definitely meant to be played with a buddy and the lack of online gameplay just feels like a missed opportunity.

Gameplay-wise, the game adds more than enough things to do and reasons to play again. The hub that allows you to enter different chapters in the game offers a peek at all the interesting characters you can use to replay a favorite sequence and possibly even discover things you missed the first time around or couldn’t access without a rare character.

As far as the graphics are concerned, though, the game could have looked a lot more spectacular and that’s even considering the fact that the characters are LEGO. The environments are meant to be exotic and they’re actually easy on the eyes but then again things such as waterfalls or water in general could have been better on the Xbox 360 or even on the PS3. Still, you’ll find the characters’ gestures and movements do a great job of conveying emotion. Then there’s the sound, which is simply composed of sound effects as well as that amazing Hans Zimmer score from the films.

Despite a few annoyances, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean manages to be addictively fun enough to keep you playing for a very long time. With more than enough collectables and reasons to replay the game again with all the things you unlocked the first time around, fans of the LEGO series or anyone who really enjoys Captain Jack Sparrows adventures (including parts from the new film) will find a lot to like about this adventure game.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: 7.5
Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 8.0
Appeal: 7.5
Overall: 7.5

Review copy provided by Disney Interactive Studios

Categories: Xbox 360 Review

PSN Blackout Update: PSN is back on … well, in most places

May 15, 2011 1 comment

After a lengthy blackout period thanks to a breach in their network security that cost the company and PlayStation 3 owners affected by it, much grief and money, the PlayStation Network is finally back on in most of the States here in North America today.

As of the time of this writing, PSN is back on Southern California earlier today as PS3 owners were quickly prompted to download the latest update that – when finished – forces you to change your old password. This will allow you to play online (yay SOCOM 4 and Portal 2 fans), use services such as HULU and Netflix and even Home. Unfortunately, the PlayStation Store is not available. Those who try to log on to the store will only get the already familiar “under maintenance” message.

I checked in with a friend in Boston and – at the time of this writing – was unable to download the update yet. If this is the case, be patient, you’ll be jumping back into PSN later today or as early as tomorrow morning. This goes for our European gaming brothers and sister as well.

There’s still no real official word yet about the compensation users will get when the PlayStation Store is back on but rumors are that we will get credit towards a free arcade or classic game. Again, these are just rumors. I mean, I know PSN is free but getting a free download game would be a nice gesture to the loyal PlayStation owners who waited this blackout patiently.

Oh, by the way, one of our writers ran into Charlie Sheen and he felt the need to apologize to him for having blamed him for the blackout. Mister Sheen said, and I kid you not: “You couldn’t play Mario for nearly an entire month? Why don’t you just buy another machine to play your games?”

Aparently, Mister Sheen thinks all consoles play Super Mario games and that buying a new PS3 would have fixed the problem. That’s classic! We’re just sorry that Nick couldn’t get a picture with him.

Anyway, PSN is back on so see you online, folks.

Categories: Gaming News Flash

Valentina’s Adventures in Bad Gaming – May 2011

I had a very beautiful dream last night.

I dreamt that game developers and game publishers around the world would stop rushing out games just because its over inflated, big-budget film version was hitting the big screen next week. In the dream, they would stop production on a game when the gameplay starts to feel like torture or would fix it enough to make it fun in short bursts.

Then, this beautiful dream would show happy gamers gladly picking up these games instead of cursing it out loud before they decide to sell it to Game Stop where the clerks would secretly snicker to themselves and softly muttering the word “sucker!” as you leave. In my dream, gamers would find these games repulsive or make you cry silent tears at night for not picking up Portal 2 or using that money to reserve L.A. Noire.

Oh, beautiful dream, isn’t it? However, that’s not reality and what we have is games that will show up in this same monthly feature. Games so bad that they leave a bad taste in my mouth as I wonder how is it that said game wasn’t stoned to death on the spot when it was being pimped during E3. Somehow these games popped up on store shelves everywhere and now I here I am playing the nightmare.


Superman (N64)

Never mind that the Man of Steel gave up his American citizenship, the real controversy is why was this game released to the public? This one is high on the list of Worst Games Ever and I have to say that – after playing it on my still functional Nintendo 64 – this is an accurate title for this super lame excuse of a game. In fact, I would have to say that it makes the Total Recall game a gem to play in comparison.

Welcome to Metropolis where the sky is purple and Superman is lame.

Where do I start when it comes to describing how bad this game is and how do I erase the memories of having played this joyless, repetitive and frustrating game? How about flying through rings in a lengthy level that was so boring I actually started dozing off in the middle of the game like an old lady watching Andy Griffith re-runs. There’s also combat in the game that makes Superman look bad. If he can’t punch out a crook with a single punch then what’s so Super about him?

Charlie’s Angels (PS2)

I’m imaging the little girl who bought this game hoping to assume the role of realistically proportioned women kicking the hell out of some terrorist scum or dangerous thug that proves that girl power doesn’t have to come from some scantily clad skank with boobs the size of watermelons. They can actually look like Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore or Cameron Diaz too, you know.

"Good morning, Angels, your next mission is end up in the bottom of a bargain bin."

However, girl power or no, Charlie’s Angel isn’t fit for gaming chicks nor that pervy kid whose secret fantasy is making Cameron Diaz do backflips over and over again. The combat is repetitive, boring and clunky thanks to the controls. Oh yeah, the level design is probably laughed at in game design schools everywhere. I bet they’re using this game as torture in Guantanamo Bay. If they are I bet waterboarding is starting to look really good to them.

Elf Bowling: Collectors Edition (NDS)

We here at Game Revolver love partaking in one of our favorite sports and that is dwarf tossing but Elf Bowling proved that you can take a good thing and make it wrong … so totally wrong. The premise of this Nintendo DS game is to toss a bowling bowl down the lane to knock down elves instead of bowling pins. Sure, it’s good for a laugh the first time you do it but after that it starts becoming less fun and the act will start eating away at your conscious. It’s like beating up a clown until he starts crying.

If they replaced the ball with a dwarf, then maybe this would have been fun. Maybe."

Oh yeah, when setting the difficulty level Hard shouldn’t mean your Stylus control shouldn’t stop working. It’s almost impossible to flick the Stylus in a straight line without having the ball immediately hit the gutter. This is definitely a game that will also get on your nerves to the point that you’d much rather go dwarf tossing instead.