Dec 25, 2009

Canadian Boxing Day Gaming Deals

By Paul Hunter

Happy Holidays from everyone here at NextGen Player. While you're busy breaking in your new Christmas consoles and games keep in mind that there are plenty of gaming deals all week long across Canadian retailers. Hoping to get Assassins Creed 2 but got Astro Boy: The Video Game instead? Don't fret, there are plenty of hot titles on sale this week (including AC2!)

Full list of deals after the break.

HMV
Dec. 26 only: CoD MW2 $29.99 (PS3/360)
Dec. 26-27 only:
Dragon Age, Brutal Legend, NFS Shift, NHL 10 $39.99 each (PS3/360)
Fable II, Halo 3, Gears 2 $19.99 each
360 Elites $249.99 (excluding CoD bundle)
All PSP 2000/3000 bundles $149.99 each

Blockbuster
XBOX Live Messenger Kit $69.99
360 Wireless controller $44.99
360 Elite Holiday bundle $269.99
Live 12-month $49.99
360 Wireless Adapter $69.99
360 Vision Camera $39.99
Wii Remote $39.99
Wii Motion+ $19.99
PS3 BR Remote $19.99
PS3 USB 2.0 & Cables $44.99

Rogers Plus
$14.99 used games:
Section 8
Bionic Commando
Raven Squad
RB Metal Track Pack
Singstar Queen
Ghostbusters
Riddick

$29.99 used games:
Red Faction Guerilla
Tekken 6
Forza 3
RE5
Wolfenstien
Beatles RB
Fifa 10

Halo 3 ODST + Gears 2 used $40
AC2 + CoD MW2 used $60

75% off all used PS2 games
50% off all used Wii games
50% off all used PSP games

$19.99 new games:
Halo Wars
Gears 2
Halo 3
Fable 2

$39.99 new games:
Mario Kart Wii
Wii Sports Resort
Uncharted 2
Shaun White Road Trip
Tekken 6

$49.99 new games:
Borderlands
Batman AA
AC2
NHL 10

Dualshock3 + GH game bundle $49.99
50% off ALS Game Traveller bag and Wii Speak

Future Shop
XBOX 360 Pro 20GB - $179.99
Playstation 3 160GB with Uncharted, Killzone, and inFamous - $299.99
Nintendo DSi - $149.99
Dragon Age Origins (Xbox 360) - $39.99
Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360 or PS3) - $14.99
Street Fighter IV (PS3) - $19.99
Prince of Persia (PS3) - $14.99
Quantum of Solace Blu-Ray - $9.99

Best Buy
360 Elite Holiday bundle $239.99
Sony 160GB Playstation 3 with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, & LittleBigPlanet: Game of the Year Edition - $299.99
Nintendo Wii Console - $179.99
Wii Sports Resort - $39.99
$39.99 Video Games (inc. Left 4 Dead 2, Assassin's Creed 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Brutal Legend)
$29.99 Video Games (inc. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare GOTY Edition, Tekken 6)
$19.99 Video Games (inc. Gears of War 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, Spore)
$14.99 Video Games (inc. Afro Samurai, Madworld)
X-Men Blu-ray - $24.99
$9.99 Blu-rays (inc. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Good Will Hunting)
$6.99 Blu-rays (inc. Ocean's Thirteen)
$4.99 DVDs (inc. American Gangster & the Lord of the Rings Movies)

RCSS (West)
$10 "value video games" (limit 6 per customer). Flyer shows Oblivion PS3, Lego Batman Wii, Stuntman 360.
Nintendo Wii - $179.99
Mario Power Tennis, Wii Pikmin and Wii Donkey King - $14.99 each.
Uncharted 2, LittleBigPlanet GOTY Edition, Resistance 2 - $34.99 each
Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Halo 3, Halo Wars - $19.99
Xbox 360 Elite holiday bundle 2009 - $259.99
Video game accessories - $6.99 (Includes HDMI cables, Wii Sports kit, PSP cases and much more)

The Source
360 Elite Holiday bundle $260
Up to 90% off select games

Toys R Us
All $19.99 value games $16.87
DS Lite bundle: includes 2 $19.99 games, 1 $29.99 game, 2 $4.99 accessories, and a DS Lite for $160
PSP 3000 Core $149.97
Dual Shock 3 $34.97 with purchase of $300 PS3
Hannah Montana PSP Pack $139.97
360 Elite Holiday bundle $269.97
Uncharted 2, LBP GOTY, Ratchet $44.97 each
Halo 3, Halo Wars, Fable 2, Gears 2 $19.97 each
25% off all Wii/DS/DSi accessories (excludes clearance and points cards)
Cars Race-o-Rama, Marvel Superhero, Spongebob Truth or Square $24.97 each
New SMB DS, Mario 64 DS, Mario & Luigi Inside Story $24.97 each
New SMB Wii $49.97
Wii Sports Resort $44.97

Zellers
70% off Warner Brothers Blue rays & dvds (25 titles to choose from)
50% off some games including Assassins Creed 2, Avatar, Shaun White, rabbids go home, just dance
Xbox 360 Elite Holiday bundle $250
$20: Gears of War 2, Halo 3, Halo Wars, Fable 2.
$69.99 Wii Fit Plus Board + Game
$129.99 PSP Core
$49.98 PS3 Dual Shock

Wal-Mart
120GB PS3 Slim + Infamous and Batman AA $300
XBOX 360 Holiday Bundle $250
DS Lite $110
PSP 3000 Black + Family Guy Blue Harvest $150
Assassins Creed 2, Brutal Legend, NFS Shift, Tekken 6 $40 each
Wii Fit Plus (Software) - $14.83
25% off All Video Games under $20

EB/Gamestop

Dec. 26 only

Tony Hawk Ride $99.99
Used Nintendo DS Lite $54.99 (with purchase of two used DS $20+ games)
Used Wii $89.99 (with purchase of two used Wii $20+ games)
Used PSP-1000 $54.99 (with purchase of two used PSP $20+ games)

Dec 26-28
Prince of Persia 2008 - $9.99
Dissidia FF PSP - $19.99

Dec 26-31
PS3 250gb w/ free Little Big Planet GOTY and God of War Collection - $349

Dec 31 Only
Rock Band: AC/DC $1.99

Dates unknown
Mad World $19.99
Fable II $19.99
Halo 3 $19.99

Gamedeals.ca
20% off everything (in-store and online)

SiG (in-store)
DSi $100
PSP Go $150
360 Wireless Adapter $40

Factory Direct
2 refurbished 360 controllers $40

Source: Cheap Ass Gamer

[pic]

Dec 22, 2009

ELAN Awards Announces Host City, Categories

By Clinton Ma


The announcements have come in hot and heavy this week for the 2010 ELAN Awards. We last reported on the Canadian-produced video games, animation and visual effects award show during the summer when rumours surfaced that the event founders were contemplating moving the show south across the border.

That rumour has since been confirmed and the ELAN Award organizers issued press releases earlier this week detailing the new host city and the award categories...

The first three ELAN Award ceremonies were held in Vancouver, BC. No more. The 4th annual ELAN Awards will be held next summer in sunny San Diego. With the show`s move to the US, the ELAN founder & producer, Holly Carinci has also adopted a bigger, bolder approach to her event. Instead of being held in a single night, the awards next year will run from July 17th - 19th and will encompass a VIP-only pool party, a raucous street celebration and finally, the award show gala reception.

The award categories for the revamped show have also been revealed to the games press. Compiled with the help of industry feedback, it`s a comprehensive list of awards to say the least, and shows an astute awareness of the trends relevant to gaming today as well as paying tribute to the various specialties associated with putting out a quality video game. The categories are:

1. BEST GAME OF THE YEAR

2. BEST E-RATED GAME OF THE YEAR

3. BEST TEEN-RATED GAME OF THE YEAR

4. BEST MATURE-RATED GAME OF THE YEAR

5. BEST CONSOLE GAME

6. BEST PC GAME

7. BEST CASUAL GAME

8. BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME

9. BEST LICENSED GAME

10. BEST HANDHELD GAME (PSP; DS, IPod or other similar devices)

11. BEST MOBILE GAME

12. MOST ACCESSIBLE GAME

13. BEST INDEPENDENT GAME


TALENT AWARDS

14. BEST WRITING in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

15. BEST SOUND in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

16. BEST MUSIC in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

17. BEST ART DIRECTION in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

18. BEST CHARACTER ANIMATION in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

19. BEST VOICE OVER in an VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

20. BEST GAME DESIGN

21. BEST REAL-TIME VISUAL EFFECTS in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

22. OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL INNOVATION

23. BEST NEW TALENT (Student only)

24. VIDEO GAME HALL OF FAME


CONVERGENCE AWARDS

25. BEST ANIMATED PRODUCTION with a LICENSED VIDEO GAME

26. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS-DRIVEN FEATURE FILM with LICENSED VIDEO GAME


MARKETING AWARDS

27. GAMER'S CHOICE

28. BEST IN-GAME ADVERTISEMENT in a VIDEO GAME

29. BEST OVERALL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN for a VIDEO GAME

30. BEST VIRIL MARKETING PR CAMPAIGN for a VIDEO GAME

Nomination submissions official open on January 4th, 2010. More details regarding the submission and judicial process are expected to arrive next week just prior to the holidays.

I know a few of us here at NextGen Player have expressed concern about the ELAN Awards moving into the US market, a place already awash in award shows and industry events such as E3, PAX, GDC and the recently held Spike VGAs. Following these recent announcement, however, I`m inclined to think the ELAN organizers are on the right track. With a run of three days, they are sparing no expense to make a big splash and the comprehensive, thoughtful award categories give it an air of legitimacy even established shows like the VGAs seem to lack.

My only reservation right now is the timing of the event. Award shows that honour the best of the preceding year typically hold their celebrations early in the new year. Getting people to care about the best of 2009 during the sweltering summer of 2010 may be a stretch for some. This is usually a time of looking forward, in the wake of big conferences like GDC and E3 where publishers are showcasing their latest offerings for the remainder of 2010 and beyond.

How the ELAN Awards will fare in this climate is anyone`s guess. It will certainly be an interesting experiment and provide a welcome bit of competition for the established players down south.

Dec 19, 2009

Gaming Deals For This Week

By Andrew Shin

With the holidays fast approaching, NextGen Player is here with another weekly update for gaming deals. I've been scoping out flyers and online for any deals I could find. Here's some great gaming deals for this week.

Future Shop (From Dec 18th to Dec 24th)

- DualShock 3 Controller Bundles (w/ Ratchet & Clank or Uncharted: Drake's Fortune or GT5 Prologue) - $59.99
- Rock Band Special Value Edition w/ The Beatles Rock Band game (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $99.99
- Band Hero Band Kit (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $169.99
- Section 8 (Xbox 360) - $39.99
- Tekken 6 (Xbox 360 and PS3) - $29.99
- Rock Band Track Pack AC/DC Live (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $9.99

Best Buy (From Dec 18th to Dec 24th)

- DualShock 3 Controller Bundles (w/ Ratchet & Clank or Uncharted: Drake's Fortune or GT5 Prologue) - $59.99
- Rock Band Special Value Edition w/ The Beatles Rock Band game (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $99.99
- Band Hero Band Kit (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $169.99
- Rock Band Track Pack AC/DC Live (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $4.99
- inFAMOUS (PS3) - $39.99
- Assassin's Creed II and COD: Modern Warfare 2 Bundle (Xbox 360 and PS3) - $99.99
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Zelda: Spirit Tracks Bundle (Nintendo DS) Bundle - $79.99
- Nintendo Wii Console - $199.99

Walmart (From Dec 18th to Dec 24th)

- Xbox 360 Gaming Bundles (either a controller and 2 games pack or a 3 game family pack) - $39.99
- Assassin's Creed, HAWX, FarCry 2 or CSI: Deadly Intent (Xbox 360) - $14.99
- NHL 10 (Xbox 360 and PS3) - $39.83

Staples (From Dec 16th to Dec 24th)

- Too Human, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 and Madden NFL 09 (Xbox 360) - $7.97
- inFAMOUS and Motorstorm - $17.47
- Gears of War 3 and Halo 3 - $29.97

That's so far. Happy game shopping all.

Dec 16, 2009

Wanna Win An Alienware Desktop?

By Andrew Shin

Hello Canadian PC gamers. I recently came across a contest open to Canadian residents to win an Alienware Aurora Desktop with Killer Zeno Pro. As well, there is a daily draw for six lucky winners to receive a copy of NCsoft's AION.

This is a great opportunity to win and get your hands on Alienware's new Aurora gaming PC desktop.

For more details and to enter, visit the ZAM contest site.

Good luck!

Dec 14, 2009

NGP Talks With The Mark

By Andrew Shin

NextGen Player has certainly been busy talking about gaming recently. Paul Hunter has made recent appearances on Webnation and other shows to chat gaming. In addition, I recently spoke with The Mark news site about my article on the EA layoffs that occured last month.

In this audio interview, I spoke about the EA layoffs and what that means for the Canadian video game industry.

Check it out here.

Enjoy.

And here is the rest of it.

Dec 12, 2009

NGP Media Round-Up: Globe and Mail, Webnation & Intel Webcast

By Paul Hunter

It's been a busy month here at NextGen Player HQ and with the holiday season upon us media outlets have been knocking at our doors for interviews and commentaries on some of the hottest game titles lining store shelves.

Here's a rundown of media appearances with links to the videos/article:

----

Webnation Episode 5 - November 11, 2009

I had the opportunity to meet Amber MacArthur, tv and netcasting personality, as a guest on her Webnation show which airs on CP24. In the segment I discuss Modern Warfare 2, Lego Rock Band and Band Hero. Skip to 2:20 for the clip.

Webnation Episode 5 notes can be found here.

----

Intel Live Webcast - November 27, 2009

Future Shop invited me to join tech guru Marc Saltzman, Doug Cooper from Intel Canada and Amber MacArthur on a very special webinar where we discuss the hottest PC games and accessories for 2009. I provided commentary on eight games (4 hardcore, 4 casual) which starts at the 39:00 mark.

----

Globe and Mail - December 3, 2009

Dave McGinn from the Globe and Mail interviewed me about the gay sex scene in Dragon Age: Origins. I hadn't considered myself an expert in gay sex in video games until that day, but surprisingly I had a lot to say.

The Dragon Age: Origins scene in question can be found embedded in the Globe and Mail article.

Dec 11, 2009

Nintendo of Canada Wishes You and Your Pets a Happy Holiday

By Paul Hunter

With the holidays fast approaching I received a nice eCard in my mail today from Matt Ryan, PR Manager for Nintendo of Canada. The card, or rather flash game, is a fun snowball flinging romp featuring the cast of New Super Mario Bros. Wii: Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad and Yellow Toad.

In Holiday Snowball Toss, the object of the game is to throw snowballs at various inhabitants of the Mario universe that pop out of seven pipes or dangle from the ceiling. The characters include: Bowser, Stars, Boos, Bomb-ombs, Spinies and four Koopalings -- Larry, Iggy, Roy, and Ludwig Von Koopa.

It's a fun little time-waster if only to put your face on Waluigi and see yourself decked in his lanky, purple overalls.

My highest score is 550 and that's for one of two reasons: 1) I'm playing on a laptop without a mouse and have limited accuracy; or 2) I'm so used to being the victim of a snowball that I have no tossing skill of my own to speak of. I'll let you decide which one of the two is reality.

And while you're playing, know that Nintendo of Canada wishes you, your family, and pets a happy holiday season.

Dec 10, 2009

Fashionably Late Left 4 Dead 2 Demo Impressions



By Paul Hunter

I know what you're thinking, why I am posting a Left 4 Dead 2 demo impressions video when the full game is already out? Well, simply put, this video was created several weeks ago by my good friend Darren Price and I took my sweet ass time publishing it. Well that and the fact that YouTube peeps decided the content in the game was unsuitable for Canadians and blocked it from IPs originating in the country. Weird, I know.

Thankfully it's now been unblocked so everyone can enjoy this excellent commentary on a most excellent sequel to Valve's hit zombie franchise.

If you like the video, I encourage you to check out Darren's YouTube channel. He's a huge gamer and always has interesting commentaries.

Oh if you want to read my impressions of the retail version of the game, check out my full Left 4 Dead 2 review on the Future Shop Tech Blog.

Ubisoft Employee #1 Reveals Toronto Studio Location



By Paul Hunter

He hinted, then teased (see video above), and now he finally revealed. Ubisoft Toronto's very first employee, Derek Lebrero, announced on his Facebook page the location of the company's new studio.

Ubisoft Toronto is officially making 224 Wallace Ave. their new home. You can see where that is in relation to the downtown core on Google Maps here. The building is located on the west-end of Toronto, just north of the Landsdowne subway stop.

Want to see what the new studio looks like? Hit the jump for a photo.

Dec 7, 2009

Here Are Your Most Wanted Wii and DS Games for December 09, Canada

Andrew Shin

So Nintendo of Canada's monthly newsletter popped into my inbox recently and as usual, they've listed their top Wii and DS games for the month. Nothing too surprising or unexpected for December 2009 with the exception that the recently released New Super Mario Bros Wii didn't make its way onto the list. Maybe next month.

So here's what the list looks like:

Wii

Punch-Out!!
Wii Sports Resort
Mario Kart Wii
Wii Fit
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Excitebots: Trick Racing
New Play Control! Mario Tennis
Metroid Prime: Trilogy
Wii Fit Plus
Animal Crossing: City Folk
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

NINTENDO DS

The Legendary Starfy
Personal Trainer: Cooking
Pokemon Trainer: Math
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Pokémon Platinum Version
Rhythm Heaven
Fossil Fighters
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Style Savvy

Deertase Game Lampoons Toronto Police's Handling of Wild Doe

By Paul Hunter

On November 24, 2009, a wild deer made headlines when it was spotted downtown Toronto near the city's largest bus terminal at Bay and Dundas. The incident bewildered the Toronto police Emergency Task Force and onlookers who were unsure how the doe managed to find its way to the heart of Toronto.

The police were gawked by several local and national media outlets for their handling of the situation, which involved tranquilizing the animal and, after failing to subdue it, a taser shot was fired. The doe was in good health after the jolt and was released back to the wild.

Local gaming website Toronto Thumbs created a flash-based game, called DEERTASE, which lampoons the incident by letting players assume the role of an officer of the law with the goal of subduing a wild deer that has been caught sauntering in the Downtown Core.

The game's developer, Shaun Hatton, commented about the police handling of the wild doe:

"I just thought it was absurd that an officer would use a taser on an animal. If you look at the footage, you actually see the deer is just sitting there not bothering anyone. They basically tased her like she was an unruly thug."

DEERTASE has been a big hit for the website, with the game receiving over 600 plays within the first 24 hours.

For more information on DEERTASE, or to play the game free, visit http://www.torontothumbs.com/deertase/

Dec 6, 2009

Pick of the Pics: This Game Sucks

By Paul Hunter

As seen on Threadless. It's their new This Game Sucks tee.

Poor Pac-Man.

Best Buy Canada & Future Shop Running 'Buy 2, Get 1 Free' Deal

By Paul Hunter

Best Buy Canada and Future Shop announced a 'buy 2, get 1 free' promotion on this past Friday for all video games for the following platforms: PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PSP, and PC.

If you own multiple platforms you can mix and match by buying any combination of games, so you could say get Modern Warfare 2 for Xbox 360, Assassin's Creed II for PS3 and then get New Super Mario Bros. Wii for free.

There are two restrictions to be aware of: the free game must be equal or lesser value with a maximum value of $69.99 and the deal is limited to one per customer. The in-store only promotion finishes on December 10, 2009.

Looks like Toys R Us will have to take a backseat this year as this is the exact same promotion they ran last December. Something funky must have happened since Toys R Us down in the States had this promotion back in October. But hey, at least we got the deal here in Canada, even if it jumped retailers!

Exclusive Halo Xbox 360 Bundle Hits Canada

By Paul Hunter

Microsoft announced a new holiday Xbox 360 Elite bundle that is exclusive for Canada featuring their #1 hit franchise Halo. The bundle, which should be on store shelves nationwide now, includes:

* 250 GB Hard Drive Xbox Elite
* two black wireless controllers
* matching black Xbox 360 Headset
* copy of Halo 3
* copy of Halo 3: ODST

The complete package has a suggested retail price of $399.99.

This is the third exclusive bundle that has come to Canada this year, joining the GTA IV Xbox 360 bundle back in April and the NHL 2K10 Wii bundle that came out in September. It's very encouraging to see the console makers targeting Canada with exclusive hardware pack-ins, let's hope that trend continues in '10.

I did a price break-down over on the Future Shop Tech Blog to see just how good of a value this bundle is and found out you save roughly $100 if you were to buy all these items separately.

If you're interested in seeing the analysis, check out the Tech Blog article here.

Dec 5, 2009

THQ Selects Montreal For New Studio

By Paul Hunter

THQ have announced plans to move into Montreal with the opening of a brand new studio by mid-2010. The new facility will house 400 employees to be hired over the next five years. Jobs will be available in a variety of disciplines, including design, engineering, art, content and technology development, quality assurance and localization.

The company has stated that the new Montreal location will become the largest in its global studio system.

THQ has appointed Dave Gatchel, former general manager of their shuttered Paradigm Entertainment studio, to serve and the Montreal studios general manager.

Montreal was selected because of it's outstanding pool of digital media talent and the availability of fresh talent from the city's university system. Moreover, the Quebec government's support, in the form of reimbursable tax credits and other incentives, gives the company favourable economic conditions to produce their core, big-budget titles.

The first game from the new studio is expected to hit shelves in THQ's fiscal 2013 year.

Interested applicants may send their resumes to THQ Montreal at: Montrealcareers@thq.com.

Wii Fit Plus $9.99 At Future Shop, 2 Day After Hours Sale

By Paul Hunter

Future Shop has an after hours sale going on today and tomorrow with Wii Fit Plus retailing for $9.99. The sale runs on Dec. 5-6 (8pm-10am) and resumes again on Dec. 6-7 (5pm-9am).

This deal if for the game only so you'll need the Wii Balance Board in order to play.

The regular price of Wii Fit Plus is $24.99. At the time of writing there are 938 units in stock.

Nov 30, 2009

Xbox LIVE Game With Fame - Play Tony Hawk Ride With Tony Hawk

By Andrew Shin

Alright all you Xbox LIVE Gold members out there in Canada, listen up. If you own the new Tony Hawk Ride game for the Xbox 360, then Wednesday, December 2nd is your opportunity to play with the legendary skater Tony Hawk himself as part of Xbox LIVE's Game with Fame session.

All you have to do is send a friend request to the gamertag TonyHawkGWF and make sure that you are online a half hour before the session begins (be online at 7:30pm EST). Then just cross yer fingers and hope you get an invite to play.

Sounds like some good ol' street surfin' fun. For more details, check out the Xbox Canada website.

BC Gamers Raise $130,000 By Playing World's Most Boring Game

By Paul Hunter

Long time readers will know that I have a particular affinity to Victoria BC-based comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun. They're funny, they're creative, and most importantly they have hearts of gold.

On November 20, 2009, the team began their annual Desert Bus For Hope charitable event and over five days raised $132,608.94 for Child's Play. What an outstanding achievement.

They raised the money by playing the world's most boring video game, ever, called Desert Bus.

I wrote at length about the charity event over on the Future Shop Tech Blog, from the article:

"To get a sense of just how boring this game is consider the following description:

Desert Bus is 16-bit simulator that has the player drive a completely empty bus between Tucson, Ariz. and Las Vegas in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph. A one-way trip takes a full eight hours to complete, and the game cannot be paused. If the player manages to complete the road trip, they're given 1 point and given the option to make the return trip to Tucson for another point."

[Click here to read my full thoughts on Desert Bus For Hope]

This article appears on the Future Shop Tech Blog where I contribute three times weekly.

Nov 28, 2009

Gaming Deals For This Week

By Andrew Shin

As the holidays get closer by each passing week, retailers are starting to target gamers with some great deals to take advantage of. This coming week in particular seems to be a good one for some really great deals....here's a round up of ones I've scoped out.

Blockbuster Canada
- Buy a PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii or any Blu-ray player and receive a $25 gift card (deal begins Nov. 27th)
- PS3 price drops - 80GB system for $269.99 and 160GB system for $399.99 (while quantities last)

Best Buy Canada
- All deals run from Nov. 27th to Dec. 3rd
- Select EA titles $39.99 (Need For Speed: Shift, Brutal Legend, NHL 10, Dragon Age Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, Fight Night Round 4 - either PS3 or Xbox 360 versions)
- EA Sports Active for $39.99 (Wii)
- PS3 DualShock 3 Controller and Wireless Keypad for $79.99 (save $30)
- PS3 Greatest Hits 2 for $40

Future Shop
- All deals run from from Nov. 27th to Dec. 3rd
- Select EA titles $39.99 (Need For Speed: Shift, Brutal Legend, NHL 10, Dragon Age Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, Fight Night Round 4 - either PS3 or Xbox 360 versions)
- EA Sports Active for $39.99 (Wii)
- Need For Speed: Nitro for $39.99 (Wii)
- Wolfenstein for $29.99 (Xbox 360)
- Section 8 for $39.99 (Xbox 360)
- Ninja Blade for $19.99 (Xbox 360)
- Select titles for $9.99 (Xbox 360 - Wheelman, FaceBreaker, The Simpson's Game, The Bourne Conspiracy and others)
- GTA IV and Xbox 360 Controller bundle for $59.99
- Xbox 360 wireless network adaptor for $59.99 (save $40)

Toys R' Us
- All deals fun from Nov. 27th to Dec. 3rd
- Mix and match all video game software from any systems - $10 off on purchases between $39.98 and $74.97, $20 off on purchases between $79.98 - $99.97 and $30 off on purchases totalling $99.98 or more
- Purchase a Nintendo DS ($139.99) and receive a $20 gift card

That's it so far. I'll post more when I come across any new deals.

Happy shopping folks.

Yoichi Wada Speaks At MIGS 2009

By Andrew Shin

MIGS 2009 had a very special keynote speaker this year in Yoichi Wada, CEO of Square Enix. Wadasan officially opened the conference as the first speaker and provided a thoughtful commentary on game creation.

He covered very interesting points on how factors such as IP, globalization, form and community are not only important, but necessary in creating and developing video games that will provide engaging, relevant and memorable gaming experiences.



From an IP perspective he emphasised that:
- it is a source of value for products derived from all creative industries
- it is highly important for gaming companies to take the time to develop their own IPs through first party in-house development
- too much use of IP can be negative if substance within a franchise cannot be maintained
- the key to continuing a gaming franchise is to be able to develop a good and engaging story for each iteration

Regarding Globalization:
- creating a game that would appeal to a global audience is not possible
- games have to be targeted to people's lifestyles and tastes
- for Square Enix, this means having a global presence and network of studios that can allow them to initiate and push innovations in their games by understanding people on a global level

On the topic of Form:
- there is a state of "Cambrian Explosion" of game forms
- there are numerous types of distribution and reach that games have
- this is a good situation for the industry as a whole
- however too much variety, distribution and reach could cause confusion amongst gamers and thus become detrimental to the market

And the final point about Community:
- technology has shifted the core value of games
- there is a hierarchy that begins with hardware at the base, which drives development of code, which results in games that users interact with and ultimately drives an exchange of data with the user, which then drives the development of community
- there is a barrier in knowing who is exchanging data and so there needs to be greater focus in being able to understand data


Yoichi Wada then continued to explain how his vision and that of Square Enix is to produce games that best utilize a combination of all these elements. He is fully committed to his company's mission statement that states...

"To spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences."

Wadasan's lecture was highly entertaining and for me personally, it was an unforgettable experience to hear directly from one of the pioneers in the gaming industry.

It will be interesting to see how MIGS will top this for next year.

Nov 26, 2009

NextGen Player Does MIGS 2009

By Andrew Shin

Alas, the 2009 Montreal International Game Summit conference has come and gone. Yours truly was in Montreal to attend and cover this year's MIGS and it was worth every moment. There was a great line up of speakers at the event that included Yoichi Wada providing the keynote address to kick off the conference. It was an absolute pleasure to hear Wadasan speak in person and listen to his thoughts and views regarding game creation.


Some of the other speakers that I got to enjoy included Patrick Plourde of Ubisoft Montreal. As the lead game designer on Assassins's Creed 2, Patrick shared his approach and insights on designing the game. It was a challenging feat with a tight and aggressive development schedule to produce a game with 230+ features and an overall gaming experience that would offer up much more than the original Assassin's Creed.

Then there was Scott Rogers, Creative Director at THQ. His lecture, titled "Everything I Learned About Level Design, I Learned From Disneyland", was very unique and thoroughly entertaining. It was quite fascinating to hear how Scott deciphered Disney's approach to telling stories and translated that into effective and impactful level designs for games.


Additionally, this year's MIGS was great exposure for NextGen Player as we were a media partner and as such we had our logo in the event's official programme as well as during the opening presentation address.

I can definitely say that we're looking forward to next year's conference and again being a media partner. If you haven't attended before, I highly recommend making plans to attend next year as it's a great opportunity to hear from some of the industries brightest minds and also to network and even source career opportunities.

Nov 24, 2009

Assassin's Creed 2 Has Early Success

By Andrew Shin

Ubisoft has reported that their newest title Assassin's Creed 2 has outsold the original game in its first week of sales. How well you ask? In its first week since launching, Assassin's Creed 2 sold 1.6 million units worldwide. This translates into a 32% increase compared to the first week of sales for Assassin's Creed.

This must be highly positive and satisfying results for Ubisoft as there has been much talk about whether or not gamers would respond well to Assassin's Creed 2 based on the mixed reviews and reactions that were tied to the first game.

With Assassin's Creed 2, it appears Ubisoft has listened to all of the feedback and developed a game that goes far beyond what the original offered. This is evident from the overwhelmingly positive review scores for the game. Metacritic has a metascore of 92 percent for the game. Not too shabby.

Nov 22, 2009

GameStop's Online Canadian Presence Grows Significantly

By Paul Hunter

GameStop recently increased their online Canadian presence noticeably with the launch of a brand new, ecommerced-enabled website last week. The newly redesigned GameStop.ca features online shopping for new and used games, pre-orders for upcoming releases, the ability to check in-store software availability, a store locator, as well as the ability check your Edge card balance and purchase gift cards.

The new Canadian website has a very similar look and feel to the GameStop.com website that Americans have enjoyed for years now. In all likelihood the two websites share the same eCommerce engine technology creating administrative efficiencies across their North American operations.

Now that GameStop has a fully functional online retail presence, Canadians will have the luxury of comparing the company's video game prices with those of other national retailers from the comfort of their own home. I can't complain about that.

But what I can complain about is the slowwww loading images on the new website. What's up with that?

Nov 20, 2009

We're Baaaaacccck...Huh?

By Andrew Shin

Hello there!

That's right...I'm talking to you (our loyal NextGen Player readers). I know we've been MIA for about a week now. It's been quite busy for us as Paul has been in the middle of a move and I had just come back from Montreal attending MIGS earlier in the week.

But don't fret. We will be getting back to business as usual and posting some great articles. I have a few pieces I'll be putting up on MIGS soon. Yoichi Wada was the keynote speaker and he was great. I'll have some more on that in the next coming days.

So thanks for your patience and expect some new articles very soon.

Cheers,
Andrew

Nov 11, 2009

Early Bayonetta Demo For Xbox 360

By Andrew Shin

This just in. NextGen Player has received news from SEGA of America on an opportunity for Xbox 360 owners to get their hands on limited early access codes for the Bayonetta demo.

Here are the specifics from SEGA:

-----------------------------------------------------------

You’ve heard about the Japanese release of the game, read the blogs, the forums, and watched all the trailers - now is your chance to get your hands on the free Xbox 360 Demo of Bayonetta weeks earlier than everyone else!

All you need to do is complete the free SEGA Pass registration, submit your details, and you may receive a free voucher code to redeem for your download of the early access demo of Bayonetta! This is your opportunity to get some hands on time with this highly anticipated, groundbreaking action game - this is not to be missed!

HURRY - we will only be giving away 40,000 codes of the early access demo of Bayonetta (first come, first served)! Registration will be open from November 9th 2009 and close November 13th 2009. We will notify the recipients of the early access demo of Bayonetta as early as November 16th 2009. This promotion is only available to those in the US and Canada.

Best of luck to everyone who registers - and big thanks to you, the fans, for enabling us to offer this special promotion!

Nov 10, 2009

There Are Many 'i's In 'Wii', 'Family' And 'Skiing'

By Leif Conti-Groome

I don't think it's coincidence that two of the few words that have two 'i's together are 'Wii' and 'skiing' and the good folks at Nintendo have noticed this as well. They are currently holding a contest in conjunction with CTV to send one lucky bunch of 'i's that are part of a family on vacation to Whistler Blackcomb (one of Canada's most popular ski slopes) located in British Columbia. Better get that camera ready to take a picture of junior all decked out in winter garb looking like a character from a Robert Munsch story.

The contest is a part of Nintendo's Get Up and Play promotion which encourages families to game together and share their experiences with other video game households. Teams can earn Challenge Points by performing bonding tasks like making videos of familial bliss fostered by the Wii, or a written mini-faq providing tips for different games or submitting a family portrait to show other gamers what the people behind the Miis really look like. Most activities can be done daily to encourage teams to make time for video games every day (which is something I strongly encourage). And, to round out the whole experience, families can comment and vote on each other's activities in Nintendo's virtual community.

Along with the grand prize of the Ski Vacation, there are also weekly prizes to be given out to a lucky team. The contest ends November 22nd so you'd better get Ma, Pa, Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle-pa, Aunt-ma, um, Cousin Marth-a organized and snow suit up! Contest details can be found here.

Who knows, soon you might be gripping ski poles instead your wiimotes.

Nov 9, 2009

EA Cuts 1,500 Jobs

By Andrew Shin

Today Electronic Arts announced it was cutting 1,500 jobs across the entire company with many of the cuts affecting the Burnaby, B.C. office. This is a large reduction for EA as the cuts account for 17% of the entire workforce. The other EA Canadian offices that will be hit by these cuts are in Montreal and Edmonton.

EA also reported today a second quarter loss of $391 million and that overall it expected a net loss for the fiscal year. Today's announcement of cuts are to be completed by March 31,2010 resulting in restructuring costs of between $130 to $150 million. EA expects that these cuts will also save them $100 million annually.

While this isn't the first cut made by EA to affect Canada - remember Black Box - this is a significant one. This move by EA makes sense from an operations and revenue standpoint as they want to focus their resources and efforts on game titles that yield higher margins and better profits. These would likely include popular and successful sports series such as Madden, NHL and FIFA as well as the Rock Band series of games.

For the Canadian gaming industry as a whole, this news is quite unfortunate considering all of the recent positive news that has taken place including the opening of a Ubisoft Toronto office and increased government investment federally and provincially in Ontario. That said, it's not surprising that these types of cuts occur as we're seeing consumers showing much more discretion on how they spend their money and being highly selective on what games they purchase. With these challenges, it is expected that gaming companies will look to reduce or eliminate investment into titles that are not successful. Let's just hope that both EA and the B.C. video game industry can rebound from this soon.

Nov 8, 2009

Future Shop Hosting National Midnight Openings for Modern Warfare 2

By Paul Hunter

With the 800 lbs gorilla that is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 releasing nation-wide on November 10, 2009, Future Shop have announced midnight openings across the country in celebration.

Launch parties will be held on the night of November 9, 2009, at stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Maritimes. Future Shop stores in Quebec and Sudbury, Ontario will open November 10 at 8:00 a.m. local time.

In addition, gamers in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, will be treated to special launch parties hosted by Playstation in collaboration with Future Shop. The parties will take place at the Yonge-Dundas store (Toronto), the Robson store (Vancouver), and the Northland store (Calgary). Additional street team activities will occur in the Ottawa and Winnipeg locations.

Here are all the pertinent details:

When:

Monday, November 9, 2009, 9:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. (Stores will be open from midnight to 1:00 a.m.)

Where:

Vancouver: 798 Granville St. (at Robson)
Toronto: 10 Dundas St. (at Yonge)
Calgary: 420 - 5111 Northland Drive NW

Future Shop has confirmed with NextGen Player that at the three launch party locations, at least 50 units of the Prestige Edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be available for die-hard COD fans.

NextGen Player Review: Borderlands

By Clinton Ma


Borderlands is a gamer's game. Devoid of any high-minded pretensions of offering a story, rich characterizations or original design, the game instead plunders the well of the most battle-tested formulas to produce a game that is surprisingly better than the sum of its parts.

Borderlands also shines as a case study in genre mash-ups. Developer, Gearbox Software, combines two of our most enduring genres -- the role-playing game and first-person shooters -- to amazing effect. Hybrids all too often fall flat in their balancing act, neglecting one genre while over-salting the other. I'm happy to report that Borderlands sidesteps most of these pitfalls, paying fair tribute to both shooter and RPG fans alike. To ice the cake even further, they've seemingly managed the impossible task this generation, which is to say competently offer seamless drop-in or four-player co-op. The shock!

Despite this formidable gaming recipe they've concocted on paper, Gearbox's "role-playing shooter" still runs afoul of some typical slings and arrows, keeping it just shy of earning that perfect NGP score...

Players take on the role of one of 4 selectable vault hunters dispatched onto the desolate colony world of Pandora, to seek out the fabled Vault which is home to mysterious alien technology of unspeakable power. Each character is distinct and represents a player class all their own. Roland is your standard soldier grunt; Mordecai is the classic sniper; Brick provides the requisite tank-meathead; and Lilith is the stealthy assassin. The fearsome foursome is pushed towards their goal by a remote, Cortana-like personality who occasionally pipes into your ear to relay long-term objectives or to offer generic encouragements.

The existence of classes is your first major clue of the game's RPG inspirations. The 4 playable characters are distinct in their look and character progression trees but they all share a common foundation when it comes to their proficiency in weapons. And in Pandora, the weapon of choice is almost always a gun. In fact you're given your first gun shortly after beginning the game's tutorial. Guided along by a uni-wheeled talking robot called a Claptrap, the tutorial gently introduces you to the harsh lands of Pandora, a post-apocalyptic kind of place that takes far more stylistic cues from Mad Max than Fallout 3.

From there on out, it's up to you to explore the world and pick up the pieces that will unlock your path to the Vault. Pandora is laid out as a series of interconnected hub worlds, with each one containing a balanced mix of supply depots, towns, quest givers and hostile territories. Borderlands has flashes of feeling like an open-world environment, but is fairly linear. Unlocked areas can always be revisited to finish quests or to beat up on weaker foes but the player is quite rigidly corralled from beginning point to end-game battle.

Borderlands is first and foremost a shooter. Pandora as a world is a very rich backdrop for the first-person shooting action but as a role-playing game, it falls well short of being an interesting place to be. You're supposed to be more interested in the basic trappings of an RPG: leveling, obtaining new items, customizing your character's class skills and the like. In this respect, the game strikes a fairly good balance of offering enough variety and depth without slowing the pace with minutiae or number-crunching. But it's the loot game that makes Borderlands such an addicting experience and helps draw the inevitable comparisons to Diablo. There always seems to be a better gun, shield upgrade or class-boosting artifact just around the corner and it's this sick compulsion that drives deep into any gamer's pleasure center and takes firm hold for the good 20-25 hours it takes to complete the main story quest.


As lovely as all the loot is, you are constantly awash in items. Equipment chests are scattered everywhere. Lockers contain loot, as do toilets, safes and refrigerators. Even skag vomit (a skag is the Pandora equivalent of a giant rat) holds some ammo scraps after you've picked through it. It's loot, loot all the time and it eventually gets wearying and becomes a form of visual white noise. You'll pick up a couple choice weapons that serve you well, relegating most of your loot drops to your junk pile or as merchant fodder. In a way it reminds me of Sacred 2 another loot-heavy game I reviewed earlier this year. It's as if the game is desperately afraid of losing your interest, ever so vigilant it is at dangling another shiny trinket in your face or sending you on another tiresome errand disguised as something more meaningful.

The enemies could also have been imbued with a sense of variety. Outside of a few notable boss characters, your enemies boil down to a small mix of deranged bandits and various scurrying creatures that simply charge at you, AI sophistication be damned. Quest givers and other friendly NPCs fare no better. They are pure cardboard cut-outs, not even so much as emoting when you come into their vicinity. But hey, they only serve one purpose and that is to dole out missions for you to complete for more experience, money and loot.

If that were all there was to Borderlands, I'm afraid it would be just a very average game. Thankfully, the entire package is kicked up several notches by the very capable first-person shooting mechanics, the striking art direction and the nearly seamless 4-player co-op feature. A few RPGs have attempted FPS controls in the past, most notably Fallout 3 and Deus Ex, but no one has really captured the visceral feeling of firing a big gun in the context of a stat-driven RPG system. Borderlands comes the closest to nailing this perfectly. Firing guns feels right and to appease the RPG nuts, each successful hit elicits damage numbers that float up from your target, so you know exactly how awesome your new electricity-spewing shotgun is. There's still a slight disconnect during combat especially when you're pumping clip after clip into higher level enemies, but you rarely feel like your FPS skills are getting the short end of the stick.

Now I've heaped quite a few criticism onto Borderlands already but in all honesty, most of these niggles fade far into the background once you've grouped up with 3 other friends to tackle the wastelands together. With scaled up enemies and loot, the moment-to-moment enjoyment factor ramps up considerably when you have a group working as a team. A lot of techniques common to MMOs come into play here, with mixed class tactics being one of more satisfying results. Even many skills that seem a bit pointless in solo play take on a new life when you combine them with the complementary skills of another class. Co-op is not perfect, since it's possible for greedy players to make off with the best loot and it renders the already paper-thin narrative to the distant background even more than when playing alone. Lag also rears its ugly head on occasion. It's best played using dedicated character with the same group of friends, that way you're all at the same level and moving through the world at the same pace.

In the end, Borderlands does occupy that uneasy position that hybrids usually do. While it does a solid job as both a shooter and RPG, it's not even close to giving the champions in each of those genres a run for their money. And during a busy holiday season that sees the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, you almost have to wonder if Borderlands has enough mojo to compete.

But compete it does. The co-op is what really gives Borderlands its legs. Overall, I found the game to be quite the paradox, equally unique and derivative, addictive yet frustrating. It's something that is bound to hold your interest for at least 15 hours, and for many players, that's as good a recommendation as they'll ever need.

Pros:
- Striking, stylish art direction: like a cel-shaded version of Mad Max
- Addictive RPG-lite game play
- Procedurally generated loot
- Feels like a good shooter
- Drop-in & out 4-player co-op

Cons:
- Slightly shallow, one-note game design
- Chance of lost progress with corrupted save files
- Procedurally generated loot fatigue
- Unbalanced PvP
- Fun co-op that can feel a bit disjointed & chaotic

NextGen Player gives Borderlands a...


Gamercamp Toronto - November 21st

By Andrew Shin

Gamercamp is a one day event in Toronto that is a celebration of video games. This year's event will take place on November 21st at the Lower Ossington Theatre. There will be speakers, demos, an arcade area dressed with rare and retro games and Toronto's own indie game cabinet called the Torontron.

The keynote speakers for this year are Hand Eye Society's Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns and their topic will be about approaching video game development with the rock band model. Other speakers will include Michael Todd talking about Broken Brothers Deluxe and Gerald Darcy of the Replay Arcade Museum - a Toronto based gaming museum set to open soon. In fact, Replay will be Canada's first gaming museum.

In the evening there will be a closing party hosted by Gamercamp and Replay called 1UP that will showcase 25 rare and classic arcade cabinets with unlimited freeplay. On top of all that, dinner will also be served to attendees.

Tickets for Gamercamp can be purchased for $15 and includes admission, dinner and access to the 1UP closing party. To purchase tickets, click here.

To see the complete Gamercamp schedule, click here.

Nov 6, 2009

PlayStation.ca Uncharted 2 Contest

By Andrew Shin

It wasn't too long ago when our gaming counterparts in the US were given the opportunity to win a very limited Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition. Well PlayStation.ca is now giving us Canadians the opportunity to win as well.

Go to PlayStation.ca and you can enter to win one of 5 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition games. All you have to do is simply answer 3 Uncharted trivia questions correctly in order to access the contest entry form. The contest runs until November 23 (10:00 ET).

Nov 3, 2009

Best Buy Canada COD: Modern Warfare 2 Midnight Launch

By Andrew Shin

Best Buy Canada announced today that they will be hosting a couple of midnight launch events for the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. On Monday, November 9th the Bay and Dundas store in Toronto and the Cambie store in Vancouver will be hosting midnight launch parties that will go on from 9pm to 11:59pm. At 12:01am, both stores will open for approx. 1 hour to allow people to purchase the game. So if you live near either areas, this will be a great opportunity to get your hands on this game before it goes on sale to the general public later that morning.

Full details for this event is as follows.

Launch party details:

From 9:00 p.m through 11:59 pm on November 9, 2009, launch parties will be held at the Bay and Dundas Best Buy store in Toronto and at the Cambie Best Buy store in Vancouver.

Launch party activities include:
- Be one of the first to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with XBOX 360 street teams
- Dress up in costume for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
- Additional Call of Duty XBOX 360 console given away on site at each launch party store
- 50 limited Prestige Edition games available at each launch party store
- Monster Hitman energy drink street teams on site


Midnight opening details:

Midnight openings for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be held on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:01 a.m. for approximately one hour (Quebec stores will open at 8 a.m on Tuesday, November 10, 2009)

- Enter to win one of five Call of Duty XBOX 360 consoles
- A minimum of 15 limited Prestige Edition games will be available at every store
- First 75 customers at each store receive a free four-pack Monster Hitman energy drink

Nov 1, 2009

Nintnedo Loses Some Steam

By Andrew Shin

Earlier this week Nintendo Co. Ltd reported that quarterly profits had dropped 52% and as a result has reduced its annual earnings forecast for the year. Their operating profits fell $90 billion Yen (approx. $709 million US) in July-Sept compared to $133 billion Yen a year earlier. This has been a difficult quarter for Nintendo coupled with the declining sales trend that has hit them throughout the year.

One can't be completely surprised by this latest quarterly report as Nintendo hasn't done enough to spark new and heightened interest in their Wii console due to a lack of engaging and exciting game titles. In fact, the only big release in the last few months has been the Wii Sports Resort game that incorporates the use of the new Wii Motion Plus peripheral for the Wii Remote. The other obvious factor in all of this is the the recent price cuts to the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Sony having introduced a new slimmer PS3 for $299 CAN and the Xbox 360 Elite dropping in price to $299 as well has helped both consoles to gain more marketshare with respect to sales. In fact, for the first time since its release, Sony's PS3 outsold the Wii as the top selling console in the U.S. this past September according to NPD numbers. As a result, Nintendo responded by also dropping the price on the Wii to $219 CAN.

To have dominated as long as Nintendo has since the release of the current gen consoles, it's only expected that they would lose some of its lustre. But at the end of the day, business is business for Nintendo and if they hope to recover, many in the gaming industry - both analysts and gamers - feel that Nintendo has to deliver with a solid line up of titles and new gaming experiences that will keep both the casual and core gamers interested enough to spend their dollars.

Oct 28, 2009

God of War Collection Trophies Revealed

By Andrew Shin

While many of us wait for the release of God of War III next year, we'll have something to hold us over when the God of War Collection launches on November 17th. The God of War Collection is a PS3 format game that includes the original God of War and God of War II, both remastered in full HD.

So here's a couple of cool things about this. One, you get to play (either again or for the first time) the previous God of War games in high definition glory. Can you visualize how sweet that would be? And two, there's full trophy support for both games. In fact, the God of War team had some fun with this and created some interesting trophies. An example is the "Speed of Jason McDonald" gold trophy achievable in God of War. Jason is the Sr. Combat Designer for God of War III and holds the office record for the best speed run for God of War. To order to gain the "Speed of Jason McDonald" trophy, you'll need to complete the game in under 5 hours.

For the complete list of trophies for both games, have a look below.

GOD OF WAR

Bronze

1.21 Gigawatts - Acquire Poseidon’s Rage
Rocking Out - Acquire Medusa’s Gaze
Bolt Action - Acquire Zeus’ Fury
Sword Man - Acquire Blade of Artemis
Soul Search - Acquire Army of Hades
Matador - Win the first Minotaur fight
Scape Goat - Win the first Satyr fight
Roll Over … and Die - Win the first Cerberus fight
Don’t They Ever Shut Up! - Defeat the Desert Sirens
Beat a Dead Horse - Complete the Centaur sacrifice to Hades
Kickboxer - Complete the Spike Room Box Puzzle
Rockin’ the Boat - Complete the Sex Mini-Game
Don’t Leave Her Hanging - Rescue the Oracle with 10 seconds to spare
Get the Ball Rolling - Complete the Challenge of Atlas
Totally Baked - Complete the Human sacrifice
Splash - Kiss the Nyad
Get Me a Beer Kid - Free yourself from the depths of Hades
Zero Health = Bronze Trophy - Open a Health Chest when your health meter is already full
Hitman - Get a 100 Hits Combo
Getting My Ass Kicked - Die enough times to get offered Easy Mode

Silver

Kratos’ Marble Collection - Collect all the Gorgon Eyes
Stick it in Your Cap! - Collect all the Phoenix Feathers
It’s the HUGE One - Retrieve the Captain’s Key
Take the Bull by the Horns - Defeat Pandora’s Guardian
God Killer - Kill Ares
Head Hunter - Obtain the head of the Architect’s wife
The Power to Kill a God - Retrieve Pandora’s Box
Hitman 2 - Get a 200 Hits Combo
Legend of the Twins - Watch the ‘Birth of the Beast’ Treasure
Seeing Red - Max out all Weapons and Magic

Gold

Prepare to be a God - Beat the Game on any Difficulty
You Got the Touch! - Climb the Spiked Column in Hades without taking damage
I’ll Take the Physical Challenge - Complete the Challenge of the Gods
Speed of Jason McDonald - Beat the game in under 5 hours on any Difficulty
Key to Success - Collect all of the Muse Keys

Platinum

Trophy of Zeus - Unlock all God of War Trophies


GOD OF WAR II

Bronze

Breaking Wind - Acquire Typhon’s Bane
Big, Tuff, Buff and Rough - Acquire Rage of the Titans
Blue Balls - Acquire Cronos’ Rage
Shiner - Acquire the Golden Fleece
Rock their World - Acquire the Head of Euryale
Learning to Fly - Acquire the Icarus Wings
Shaky Ground - Acquire Atlas Quake
Death from Above 2009 - Defeat the Dark Rider for the first time
Resurrection - Climb from the pit of Hades
Rock Hard - Defeat the Titan Minotaur inside Atlas
Pick’n on the Little Guy - Win the battle outside of the Palace of the Fates
Watcha Got on the Hot Plate? - Solve the riddle of the Fire Phoenix Statue
Whip it Good - Whip the Steeds of Time
Lift with Your Knees - Topple the Temple in the Bog of the Forgotten
Swinger - Cross the collapsing Grapple Bridge
Stoner - Stone and Shatter 30 Enemies
Super Sized - Get a 500 Hits Combo
Hitting Your Stride - Power up any item

Silver

Eye Can’t Believe it - Collect all the Gorgon Eyes
Go Make a Pillow! - Collect all the Phoenix Feathers
Eye Sore - Collect 20 Cyclops Eyes
Boss Batch 1 - Kill the Colossus of Rhodes, the Dark Rider, and Theseus
Boss Batch 2 - Kill the Barbarian King, Euryale, and Perseus
Boss Batch 3 - Kill the Kraken and all three Sisters of Fate
Daddy Issues - Defeat Zeus
Rise and SHINE - Awaken the Phoenix
Spread ‘Em - Open the wings of the Temple of the Fates
Shine King - Open the door to the Temple of Euryale
Blowin’ Your Wad - Max out all Weapons and Magic

Gold

The End Begins - Beat the Game on any Difficulty
Feel the Urn - Collect and use at least 2 Urns of Power
Bleeding Thumbs - Beat the Challenge of the Titans
15 Min Fight Scene - Battle your way to the Loom Chamber in under 10 minutes
You Know the Germans Make Good Stuff… - Collect all Uber Chests

Platinum

Trophy of Gaia - Unlock all God of War II Trophies

Oct 26, 2009

Win Uncharted 2 Prize Pack With Eye Crave Network and NextGen Player

By Andrew Shin

Now here's a contest we at NextGen Player are excited to be a part of. Our friends at entertainment news site Eye Crave Network are giving away an Uncharted 2: Among Thieves prize pack in partnership with NextGen Player. This means you have the opportunity to win this great prize pack.

Let's just say you'll want to fine tune your acting and filming skills here.

For more details on the contest and how to enter, visit Eye Crave's Uncharted 2 contest page.

NextGen Player Review: WET

By Andrew Shin

If you recall, last year we posted exclusive gameplay video footage of WET that we took at MIGS 2008. At the time, Montreal based developer Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M) did not have a publisher for their game (their initial partnership with Activision didn't work out) and so the only thing one could expect for WET was nothing more than a showcase piece longing for some publisher love.

Well, since then a lot has happened. Bethesda came along and picked up the game. As a result, A2M saw all of their hard work and ambitions come to life on retail shelves across the world. As gamers waited for this game to be released, they commented on comparisons to games such as Max Payne and Stranglehold as well as visual cues akin to the grindhouse genre. The latter description holds true, however comparisons to Max Payne and Stranglehold aren’t completely justified. In fact, after playing the game, I kept thinking a cross between Lara Croft, The Matrix and grindhouse movies.

So allow me to tell you what WET is. It’s a game that does many things well. It’s a very stylistic game that does a good job of incorporating fun and engaging gameplay with some solid voice acting and a great soundtrack. Rubi is the heroine and she’s a looker with a mean streak. To compliment her badass-ness, she has at her disposal an arsenal of very effective weaponry including pistols, shotguns, crossbows and a lethal sword. As I mentioned before, the gameplay is extremely fun due to the well balanced combat cocktail of “bullet time” slow mo gunplay and athletic acrobatics. Take it a step further to string together moves and you can execute combos (all in slow motion). The end result is a highly satisfying and visually attractive shoot em’ up that will have your eyes drooling. It's also very helpful that the overall control scheme is simple in execution and layout so that all of your focus in on the screen where it should be.

As you take out the bad guys, it’s essential to do so efficiently and in continuous fashion. During any shoot up sequence with enemies, you can build up your score multiplier by stringing together one kill after another. You’ll want to build it up as high as possible and maintain it for as long as possible so that you can rack up style points. This in turn can then be used to upgrade Rubi’s abilities and weapons. Throughout the game you will also come across a regular dose of quick time button sequences where you have to respond in time to and press the corresponding controller button that flashes on the screen. Nothing unique overall, but does add another dimension to the game.

Amongst all of the good WET brings to the table, I did have some minor knocks. For one, while the game can be addictively fun, I felt it was too linear. Yes, granted these types of game need to be linear in nature, there certainly could have been some elements of free roaming to make things more interesting. Additionally, the game’s difficulty could also have been a notch higher. Especially boss battles. The few that were in the game proved a bit too easy to conquer, especially at the end of the game which kinda made it anti-climactic.

At the end of the day, WET is a solid game. A2M has put together a good package that is entertaining and has some great visuals. But as well as it executes on many aspects, it does lack some polish that holds it back from being an even better game. All that said, I’d recommend taking the game for a spin as you’ll likely have one enjoyable ride.

Pros:
- Combat is addictively fun – slo mo gunplay combined with acrobatics
- Grindhouse style makes for great visuals
- Great soundtrack

Cons:
- Too linear
- Level of difficulty could have been higher

NextGen Player gives WET a...



Oct 23, 2009

Xbox Deal of the Week: Resident Evil 5 Versus Mode

By Paul Hunter

When Resident Evil 5 came out many gamers complained that the versus mode wasn't included in the retail version -- it came out a few weeks later as downloadable content. It also just happened to cost 400 Microsoft Points or $5 depending on which currency you prefer.

There was even a rumour that circulated claiming the versus mode was on the disc all along and the DLC purchase was simply a key that unlocked it. This was later debunked by Capcom exec Christian Svensson who said:

"Keys are 100K or less. It is not a key. We have said in the past, it uses assets from the disc (like levels, models, audio, etc.) but the code is new and does not exist on the disc."

Still, many gamers felt a little cheated. 400 Microsoft Points just wasn't worth it.

Well, if you're in that group how does 240 points sound to you? That's equivalent to $3 in normal money and Xbox Canada Deal of the Week if you feel inclined to buy. Keep in mind that this is an exclusive offer only to Xbox Live Gold members and the deal ends October 25.

I haven't bothered to pick-up the DLC myself, but if you have, let us know what you thought of it.

Got Game Inteviews Vortex Competition's Managing Director


By Paul Hunter

If you follow NextGen Player on Twitter most likely you've come across a tweet or two where I've expressed my love for the weekly video game radio show Got Game that airs on The FAN590.

Got Game's host Zack Cooper and the crew recently talked with Sari Ruda, Managing Director of the Vortex Competition about the Boot Camp and Competition taking place November 3, 4 & 5 in Toronto.

The interview covers a lot of interesting facets of the event including the over-arching goals of the competition, the learnings and opportunities registrants will receive at the Boot Camp, and the lucrative prizing available to the Vortex winner.

This is the 5th anniversary of the Vortex Competition and according to Ruda they have learned quite a bit about emerging game designers over the years and have used this knowledge to fine-tune the Vortex offering to bring out the full potential of each participant.

"One of things we discovered along the way was that people might have a great concept, but they really didn't understand the nuts and bolts of putting together a business," says Ruda, "so what we're trying to do is to help them put a realistic goal together and then when they pitch the judges with these concepts the rest of it falls into place and they'll have a good chance of having a positive outcome."

As an example of how effective the competition has been for previous winners, they will be bringing in a speaker from the 2007 competition and he'll discuss how his Vortex successes have helped him grow a 23 person business since March 2008. That sounds like quite an impressive feat in only eight-teen months.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking on the flash player below or by heading over to the Got Game homepage here and downloading the October 3rd Edition. The Vortex interview begins at the 19 minutes mark:

Capcom to Zombify Torontonians

By Leif Conti-Groome

After infecting locales all over the world, the Resident Evil franchise is setting its sights on the sleepy town of Toronto, Ontario. This time, it is promising to be more of a blast than Resident Evil: Extinction.

Capcom is setting up a booth for the 7th annual Toronto Zombie Walk that will help aspiring undead be even deader. They will be promoting Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles which is slated to come out the chilly morn of November 17th. And just because they're skipping the trend of releasing horror themed games before or on Halloween (I'm looking at you Saw and Dreamkiller) doesn't mean that it won't scare the Wii Remote out your Wii Zapper.

For those unfamiliar, the Zombie Walk is a chance for zombifiles to get their shamble on in a parade like structure where everyone participating are dressed up like infected carriers. The cosplaying for this event is top notch with groups of friends setting up elaborate battles and take downs ala Left 4 Dead or tongue-in-cheek cameos (last year there was the late Ronald McDonald snacking on some McBrain sandwiches).

Not everyone is the best with white foundation and fake blood and that's where Capcom graciously comes in; their booth will feature professional make-up artists who will make you a deadite free of charge. According to the Zombie Walk website, there has been over a hundred people who are dead serious about getting assistance to become a Thriller extra.

If you live in Toronto and want to get in on the action, Capcom's booth will be in Trinity Bellwoods Park and they will exercising their mortician talents as of 12:30pm. The organizers have warned that anyone coming by the tent to get there early and bring a small make up bag just in case supplies run out. The Walk itself will be leaving at 3:30pm after opening ceremonies at 3pm where all zombies will eventually end up overrunning Bloor Street.

Capcom also helped fund some excellent advertisements done specifically for the walk. Simon Pure (which is an agency rather than a person) were the masterbrains behind these hilarious spots:



If this doesn't get you out than you do not have the heart of a true Zombie.