It looks like 2012 is going to be another great year for gamers, thanks to the sheer number of awesome releases coming up. We’ve even got a couple of new console systems to look forward to – the PlayStation Vita handheld, and Nintendo’s next generation Wii U. Over the past week or so we’ve been battling it out here at VidThru.com, but we’ve somehow managed to get a consensus on the titles we’re most looking forward to in the months ahead. Start saving up those dimes you found under the couch cushions, ‘cause you’re gonna need them! Continue reading
Activision has announced that the Call of Duty Elite beta is officially live. The digital community designed for Call of Duty: Black Ops players began its staged launch yesterday on Xbox Live, and will be activated in phases. Limited invitations to the new service will be rolling out in the coming weeks as features are tested, so get your registration in now!
Call of Duty Elite officially debuts this fall as part of Activision’s strategy for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which will be available starting November 8. The company hopes that Call of Duty’s (CoD) 30 million-strong fan base will flock to the service; so far, 2.8 million CoD gamers have already registered. CoD Elite is the first optional premium service for a standard retail game; basic service will be free, but some services will require a paid monthly subscription.
Chacko Sonny, studio head of Elite developer Beachhead Studios, said, “Call of Duty Elite is all about connecting our amazing fans around the globe in ways never before possible, and we are excited to get their feedback so they can help us further develop, tune and test the service as we head into our launch in November with Modern Warfare 3. A public beta with the massive Call of Duty community is the best way to generate the scale we need for end-to-end testing. While Call of Duty Elite will continue to evolve post-launch, we want to deliver the most polished, complete and rigorously tested service possible on day one. We’re looking to get as many participants in the beta as possible, so we ask that fans stay patient as we ramp up in the coming weeks.”
Call of Duty Elite is designed to help players connect with one another as a social gaming platform. Players will be able to compete against friends and gamers of similar skill levels or interests. They’ll also be able to join clans and groups. The platform will let players track the progress and performance of their personal network, and allows them to connect via mobile apps as well as the Internet. Elite also hopes to help players improve their skills by tracking player statistics in detail, comparing them to friends or other players, and providing tools and data to help ramp up kill/death ratios.
Once the official launch takes place on November 8, the service will get a major upgrade. At this time, it will introduce organized events and competitions for players of all skill levels, with in-game and real-world prizes. Activision hopes the fully-launched version of Elite will provide constant communication between the service and the game, accessible anywhere and anytime through mobile phones, tablets, on the web, or within the console game. A high level of clan support, focusing on competition, will be included as well.
Members will also get all-new entertainment programs created specifically for the CoD community, although information on this feature is spotty at the moment. Premium members of CoD Elite will get all downloadable content that comes out for Modern Warfare 3, from maps to themes.
The beta will help test some of these features, including video sharing and the use of custom player groups. To register for the beta, visit www.callofduty.com/elite.
Are you angry at what some consider another “cash grab” on Activision’s part? Are you looking forward to an additional social layer to your CoD gaming? Sound off in the comments!
Activision Blizzard publishes the Call of Duty series, so naturally that was among the most anticipated titles it offered at E3 this year. But this company knows its games, and it had a few other interesting offerings to show fans this year.
Among the games Activision Blizzard showed at E3 was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Here’s what we know about it: the game features a mode called Stealth Force, letting you fire like a robot and speed like a vehicle at the same time. The title fills in the gaps between the second film and the third, giving us some information about what happened to Megatron and Soundwave. Each character will have his own level and setting, and multiplayer will be included. This Transformers game will be available on DS in two iterations (Autobot and Decepticon) and on the 3DS, as well as Xbox 360 and PS3. And just so you know, the game comes out two weeks before the movie, so it offers spoilers on what happens in the film version.
Activision also showed off a pre-alpha Prototype 2. In it, Sgt. James Heller tries to get revenge for all the horrible things that the first game’s hero, Alex Mercer, did to his family and friends. This version looks about as bloody and brutal as expected.
The game aims to improve everything about the original Prototype from 2009; it takes place on three islands, separated into districts. The visuals have improved and combat has been enhanced as well. You’ll use a Biobomb to create a human bomb that takes out a group of enemies, and you can remove weapons from enemy vehicles to use them against your foes. The Blacknet system will give you story details, help you find military targets and let you upgrade your character. Lairs have been added; you can clean these out to get upgrades and other rewards. The game sports more variety overall; it looks as though developers looked at feedback from the first one to create an even better experience in Prototype 2.
But of course, we won’t know for sure until the game is released in 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Parents, realize that this one is a mature title, with plenty of violence and gore and mayhem.
For the last few holidays gamers have always had a Call of Duty title on their lists, and this November, it’ll be Modern Warfare 3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 features bigger set pieces, more explosive action sequences and plenty of the same sort of everything that made the past titles so popular. Linear levels, a nice range of weapons easy, satisfying picking off of enemies with gunfire and grenades continue the franchise’s successful formula.
MW3 sticks with what works, but does add some cool missions, including an underwater portion that features a Russian sub. Also, we hear that the new survival mode in Spec Ops is awesome, letting you battle waves and waves of foes who continue to get more powerful weapons as they go. You yourself start out with a pistol, but killing enemies gets you ammo and better weapons. If you make it to the third wave, the dogs show up. At the end of each round, you can use your points to buy items such as weapons – but pick fast, since the enemies don’t stop coming.
A spin-off to the Spyro series was also announced in the form of Skylanders: Spyro Adventure. It’s an action-fantasy adventure game that has players take on the role of Portal Master who can control over 32 playable characters (including Spyro himself), each with his or her own special abilities. As the Portal Master, players explore the lands, battle creatures, collect gold and treasures and solve puzzles. But they must ensure the defeat of Kaos – an evil Portal Master who has bannished Spyro and friends into the human world.
Skylanders comes with three action figures and a peripheral to use on the console of your choice . Called the Portal of Power, it enables players to collect and share the playable characters by placing them on the Portal of Power. The remaining 29 action figures will also be available for purchase. Skylanders will be released this September on the 3DS, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 and PC.
E3 attendees got a glimpse of the upcoming Spider-Man: Edge of Time. This time around, gamers get to see Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 combine forces, working together to prevent the death of Amazing Spider-Man. Written by Marvel’s very own Peter David, Edge of Time is set in a universe of parallel timelines and “butterfly effect” moments where the actions of one have an immediate effect on another. Edge of Time is coming out this year for the Xbox 360, PS3 and the Nintendo 3DS.
Another comic-based title announced at E3 was X-Men Destiny. Fans will be pleased to see three new mutants (and they’ll get to play one) being forced into a decision that will either save or destroy mankind. Players get loads of customization possibilities, from the path they choose, to the powers and how their character develops. A new upgrade system has been introduced that allows mixing and matching of different Brotherhood and X-Men powers.
Some of X-Men’s greatest characters will be returning, and it will be up to the player to decide whether to join forces or oppose the X-Men heroes. X-Men Destiny will be released on the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii sometime this year.
Here comes the next generation of Nintendogs and interactive games with Wappy Dog. Initially announced at the Toy Fair 2011, it also made an appearance at E3. Wappy Dog is a robot dog that young gamers can control and interact with either physically or via the Nintendo 3DS. Young gamers will be able to teach their pet tricks, play mini-games and even talk to their robot pet. The dogs have an evolving personality that require new skills, and they must be kept happy. With the variety of different modes and games, Wappy Dog looks like it could entertain your young gamer for hours once it comes out this holiday season. For more information, visit www.WappyDog.com.
Diablo 3, by the way, was a no-show at E3. We’re not sure where it is, but we’re looking forward to it whenever it does appear.
-With additional reporting by Serena Cutter
The message Microsoft seems to be sending at this year’s E3 is that Kinect is the wave of its future. Of course, along with this are the usual game announcements, including the revelation that a new Halo 4, due out during the holiday season in 2012, will be the first of a new trilogy. Microsoft also showed bits of the Tomb Raider reboot and announced that the console version of Minecraft will be an Xbox exclusive with Kinect compatibility. Continue reading