MARCH 2002 NEWS
March 31, 2002
Well I just wanted to wish everyone a great Easter break. Make sure you all drive safely and have a great time hunting for eggs on Sunday morning. I'll be taking it a bit easy on the site over the weekend so I can get some of those dreaded uni assignments done but I hope you all enjoy the review of Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter which is a terrific game.
Well, Final Fantasy X may be only a couple of months away in PAL territories but Final Fantasy XI which is due out in Japan very soon, is quite a way off. In fact SCEE's President Chris Deering stated that the online RPG will not be available in Europe until 2004! That's another 2 year wait. The official reason is the translation time, but 2 years, that's almost longer then the entire game took to develop at Square. Hopefully this isn't an indication of SCEE's Online timeframe.
Silent Hill was one of the most atmospheric and exciting games on PSOne, and the PS2 sequel continued the tradition. Now it looks like New Line (the studio behind Lord Of The Rings, Austin Powers and Blade) are planning on turning the game into a movie. The company has said they are focusing on the original games storyline and settings with no expected release date yet and the movie currently only in planning stages with no stars attached.
A reminder that there is only about a day to go in this month’s poll. If you haven't voted yet on how often you visit this site I suggest you do so. It only takes a few seconds.
I have added a review to LucasArts' impressive flight simulator, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter. It's a game definitely worth checking out, especially if you're a Star Wars fan as it has many links to the upcoming Episode II movie.
March 28, 2002
I have had a few people ask me if NBA2K2 is going to be released here in Australia on Playstation2, but sadly it looks like there aren't any plans yet. Sony Australia, who distributes Sega PS2 titles here, couldn't confirm a release date. I guess we'll be waiting a while longer for it to come out, if it ever does.
Sony Europe have just announced their release schedule for the coming months. The Australian release dates should be extremely close to if not the same day as Europe. Here's the dates:
Parappa The Rapper 2 - April 3
Drakan 2: The Ancients' Gates - April 4
Lilo & Stich - May 5
Virtua Fighter 4 - May 8
Vampire Night - May 12
Final Fantasy X - May 29
Frequency - June
Smash Court Tennis Pro - June
Gran Turismo Concept - July
Space Channel 5.2 - July
Peter Pan: Return to Neverland - August
Here's a rumour that is getting people rather excited. According to Magic Box one of the voice actors in Tecmo's Dead Or Alive series has commented that a sequel may be in development for the Playstation 2. This is an interesting move considering the development team has said that the Playstation 2 wouldn't be possible of doing the XBox's Dead Or Alive 3 without serious compromises.
One of my most wanted games this year, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter is now available. Why am I telling you this? Well, I have a lot of uni work this week so I won't have the review up for a few days. But this game is extremely impressive that should be in every Star Wars lovers Playstation 2 collection.
March 24, 2002
LucasArts have confirmed that they are developing yet another Star Wars title for Playstation 2. Below is a copy of the official press release from Electronic Arts (the games distributor here in Australia):
LUCASARTS' STAR WARS BOUNTY HUNTER FEATURES STAR WARS: EPISODE II's JANGO FETT, THE MOST FEARED MERCENARY IN THE STAR WARS GALAXY
Father of Legendary Bounty Hunter Boba Fett Highlights Action Game for PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube
SYDNEY. -- March 22, 2002 -- The hunt begins! Jango Fett, the most ruthless and feared mercenary in the Star Wars galaxy, will make his spectacular interactive debut later this year in the action-packed Star Wars Bounty Hunter from LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC. Through Jango -- father of Boba Fett, one of the most intriguing and enduring characters in the Star Wars universe -- players will plunge into the dark, deadly world of a bounty hunter, a role Star Wars game fans have long awaited to play. Star Wars Bounty Hunter is expected to release fall 2002 on PlayStation 2 and GameCube.
Inspired by events between Star Wars: Episode I and II, Star Wars Bounty Hunter presents an original, compelling third-person action game experience which establishes Jango Fett's place in the Star Wars galaxy, and his connection to the notorious clone army.
Star Wars Bounty Hunter draws players into Jango Fett's sinister and seedy world, where thieves, assassins - and worse - thrive. Using his cunning and a host of deadly skills, Jango Fett ventures into the rarely explored dark side of the Star Wars universe to track down the elusive leader of a mysterious and deadly cult. All the while, he'll compete against a brutal rival from his past, in a quest to capture the ultimate bounty, dead or alive.
"Because of Boba Fett's amazing legacy Star Wars fans have been requesting a bounty hunter game from LucasArts for years," says Tom Byron, director of product marketing for LucasArts. "Star Wars Bounty Hunter will make their wait well worth it, delivering the intense, suspense-filled experience players want and expect. Like his legendary son, Jango Fett is mysterious and powerful. He's the ultimate anti-hero who defines much of what's cool about Star Wars."
Gameplay emphasises intense combat and physical action in the relentless pursuit of prey across six fantastic worlds and 18 levels. Jango Fett faces off against an onslaught of the worst scum in the universe, including crime lords, corrupt politicians, enemies of various species, and a ruthless competitor from his own mysterious past. He is equipped with an arsenal of powerful weapons such as dual blaster pistols, a flame thrower, missiles, and a distinctive jet pack soon to be familiar to Star Wars fans.
The development of Star Wars Bounty Hunter utilises the unique, world-renowned talents of LucasArts' sister companies Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound. This marks the first time other companies in the Lucas group have combined their expertise in the production of a LucasArts game. ILM is generating cinematics for Star Wars Bounty Hunter, and Skywalker Sound is creating sound effects for the game.
American's can be very happy at the moment as BAM! Entertainment have just announced plans to distribute two of SCEE's hottest titles. Both Wipeout Fusion and Dropship: United Peace Force are expected to be released in the American Summer.
One of the most common questions which I receive is how well consoles are selling overseas. Well I thought I'd let you know the official figures for Japan for the Week March 11-17. I think it's very clear to see the Playstation 2 remaining dominant for quite some time, even beating the cheaper handheld unit by almost three times, but the XBox is struggling massively after the release only 4 weeks ago.
PlayStation 2 - 75,989
Game Boy Advance - 28,382
GameCube - 12,698
Xbox - 7,924
Sega has confirmed that they are developing Aero Dancing 4 exclusively for the Playstation 2. The game is still unconfirmed for a US or PAL release however the previous games in the series were received fairly well on Dreamcast making a port of this stunt game likely.
Yet another review in what has turned out to be a very busy, but exciting month for Playstation 2 owners. This time I have put up a review for LucasArts' Star Wars: Racer Revenge. A vast improvement over the original game with a lot more action.
March 21, 2002
Finally a date has been set for Final Fantasy X. The game will hit the shelves on May 31 2002 in Europe, with the Australian date expected to be very close. Unfortunately the Playstation 2 Hard Drive won't be available at the same time resulting in gamers having to wait an extra couple of seconds occasionally. As with Konami's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty PAL gamers are in for a treat with many extras. These include the new side story from Final Fantasy X International which was released in Japan recently as well as new bosses, a preview of Kingdom Hearts, interviews and more.
Speaking of Kingdom Hearts Square/Disney have just announced more characters to appear in the game. They include Aladdin, Jafar and Genie from Aladdin as well as Sally, Jack, Oogie Boogie, Dr. Finklestein and Zero from Nightmare Before Christmas. Expect to hear a lot more about this title closer to release.
I have added a review to the Capcom's stunning platform action game Maximo: Ghosts to Glory which should be in almost every PS2 owners collection.
Well, I stuffed it up a couple of days ago but here is the correct link to the Westwood Studios developed game, Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat. Sorry about that.
March 16, 2002
LucasArts have revealed yet another Playstation 2 game. In the bonus section of their upcoming Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter there is a preview of a game called Star Wars Bounty Hunter. The movie doesn't show any scenes from the actual game but shows a lot of pics of Jango or Bobba Fett. Expect a lot more information at the E3 show in May.
Some more details are slowing coming out about Gran Turismo 4. The game isn't expected to be released until 2004 and will include much more then the online gameplay. According to series director Kazunori Yamauchi the game will allow you to modify cars in terms of styling, colour, and exteriors. There will not be a lot more information and material available for each car while the developers are planning more ambitious stages with wider roads. Yamauchi also commented that they are considering including more old classic cars. Only 2 more years folks.
Inform have release a new Top 10 sales chart for Australia for the Week Ending 10th March 2002. Perhaps the most interesting thing on this chart is that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty appears at Number 2, despite the game not due on shelves until March 12! Another interesting thing is the non-appearance of Rez. C'mon guys it deserves much better. Anyway here is the Top 10 chart;
I have added a review to the Westwood Studios developed game, Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat, which is a little disappointing overall, but not terrible.
March 12, 2002
Well this is the day. The one you've all been waiting for. Today is the day which Konami's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is being released. To coincide with the release I have put up a review of the game. It's not like you really have to read it to go buy this game, but in case you are in a minority this game is a "must have".
Capcom have confirmed that development on Onimusha 3 is already underway. The second game is just about to hit Japan and THQ have only announced plans for a PAL release however so certain are they of a hit that a third game is already being worked on. Expect more details toward the latter part of the year.
UbiSoft have confirmed that Rayman 3 Hoodlum Havoc is now in development and should be released in late 2002. Apparently the game will include a new innovative tactical battle system. Expect to hear a lot more about this title at the E3 show in America in a couple of months time.
Online PS2 Gaming
Sony America have finally confirmed details about their online plans for the Playstation 2. The company, at this stage, isn't interested in net browsing and will concentrate on promoting online gameplay. Sony will release the PS2 10/100 Ethernet Adaptor in August at the very reasonable price of $US39.95 (about $AU80). The Adaptor has been re-designed to connect directly to the rear port of the console, and no longer through the PS2 HDD which has now been pushed back to a later, undisclosed, date.
The Adaptor will be bundled with a setup disc, playable online game demo disc, user manual, ISP connection options and product registration. Initially there will be 12 games available while the company expects most of the first party titles to be free of charge to play. Web browsing is not considered a priority at the moment with SCEA instead planning to focus on the games. Beta testing on online gaming is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks.
Only 2 days until the XBox launches in Australia but the system seems to be stumbling in Japan. Following reports that the Japanese system is scratching game discs and DVD's two major retailers, Sakuraya and Sato Musen, have halted sales of the system. Microsoft, after first denying a problem, have promised to replace and damaged discs and systems. Still, it does not make the video game newcomer look too good with the PAL launch on Thursday. Hopefully more people will enjoy Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty as a result.
Well the most anticipated title on the Playstation 2 to date, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is finally available for sale and the review is up. In case you needed a little more convincing I suggest you all read the review right here.
March 7, 2002
It looks like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is going to be delayed yet again in Australia. Although I haven't been able to confirm it myself as yet it looks like the game won't be available until March 12th, two days before the XBox launch. As yet I haven't been able to confirm the delay with Ozisoft however it's being reported on web sites such as www.topshop.com.au.
Konami have confirmed that they are working on a game based on the legendary Contra series. The game will apparently be called Contra: Shattered Soldiers. There is still no details available about the game however online retailer GameStop have the game listed for an American release in November. Expect more details to be announced at the E3 show in May.
THQ has confirmed that they will be distributing Capcom's Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny here in Australia in Winter 2002. This sequel to the original Onimusha looks much more advanced on an already great game. Here is some of the press release:
CAPCOM EUROSOFT CONFIRMS SEQUEL TO MULTI-MILLION BLOCKBUSTER WITH RELEASE OF ONIMUSHA 2: SAMURAI'S DESTINY
MELBOURNE, Victoria - March 4, 2002 - Capcom Eurosoft today announced plans
to release Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny for the PlayStation®2 computer
entertainment system this winter. This highly anticipated title is a sequel
to last year's award-winning and multi-million unit selling blockbuster
Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny begins 13 years after the events portrayed in
Onimusha: Warlords and once again blends actual historical accounts of 16th
century Feudal Japan with fictional characters and storyline. Following a
brutal attack on a village by the infamous warlord Nobunaga, players take
control of Yagyu Jubei, a young warrior and master of the Yagyu Shinkage
sword fighting style, who seeks to exact revenge on Nobunaga.
In a revolutionary use of talent, Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny effectively
'brings to life' the late Japanese actor, Yusaku Matsuda as Yagyu Jubei.
Matsuda will be best known to European audiences for his role in the 1989
film Black Rain where he co-starred alongside Michael Douglas.
A host of other entertainment professionals with expertise in writing,
special effects and motion capture lend their talents to the project
including famed Japanese film director, Keita Amemiya, whose character
designs add cinematic realism to the world of Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny.
Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny boasts the following features:
New battle system - Players will gain access to the fighting styles of not
only the main character but up to five unique sub-characters.
Enhanced sword action - A simple control system allows players to easily
execute a new set of moves called 'Oghi' which deal devastating combos.
New and diverse environments - As players progress through Onimusha 2:
Samurai's Destiny they will delight in the diversity of settings, exploring
the lively gold rush town of Imashou, the mysterious Ogre Island with its
legions of demons as well as foggy canyons, hidden forests, a gold mine,
caves and more.
Realistic presentation - Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny will feature twice
the amount of CG storyline sequences as its predecessor.
"Once again the opening cinematics are absolutely stunning and immediately
draw the player into the game's universe. You actually feel panic and fear
as Nobunaga and his henchmen terrorise the village," said David Miller,
Marketing Director, Capcom Eurosoft. "Onimusha: Warlords set new standards
when it was released last year and this sequel is certain to exceed them."
Yet another game announced by THQ for distribution in Australia is Capcom's Everblue. Here is the press release:
CAPCOM EUROSOFT TO PUBLISH EVERBLUE - THE LATEST TITLE FROM THE CREATORS OF STREETFIGHTER
MELBOURNE, Victoria - March 4, 2002 - Capcom Eurosoft today confirmed it
would be publishing Everblue for the PlayStation 2T entertainment system
this Autumn. Developed by Arika, the creators of the incredibly successful
StreetfighterT franchise, Everblue is an adventure game with a unique twist.
Taking the role of Leonardo, a novice undersea diver, the challenge for
players is to explore and discover the magic and mysteries of the Daedalus
Sea and ultimately find the treasure that has haunted your family for
Starting on dry land it isn't long before players will be donning scuba gear
and exploring the seabed for buried treasure. On returning from each dive
gamers can sell any recovered items to traders in a local town and use the
funds to purchase upgrades to their diving gear. This will allow dives to
last longer and reach greater depths thereby expanding the area that can be
explored and the potential to discover greater treasures amongst coral reefs
and sunken ships. Interaction with the inhabitants of the town will also
provide specific information about the location of treasure and the
opportunity to undertake missions set by them.
In Everblue the player's main aim may be to discover buried treasure, but it
is sometimes easy to just gaze at the beauty of the ocean and the myriad of
marine life, which the developers have so faithfully recreated. To this end,
Everblue contains a free swim mode where players can dive at their leisure
taking in the aquatic surroundings and even taking pictures, which can be
stored in an in-game album. If the photographs are deemed good enough by the
town's resident photographer players will receive special bonuses.
"Everblue is a truly unique title for PlayStation 2," commented David
Miller, Marketing Director, Capcom Eurosoft. "Not only is it the first
diving adventure game on the system, but its mixture of adventure and RPG
elements combined with the attention to detail of the underwater scenes give
it wide-reaching appeal."
Everblue game features -
· Realistic underwater setting - the feeling of scuba diving has been
· Mixture of adventure and RPG - when players are not in the water they can
interact with the town's inhabitants, trading bounty and discovering the
myths to the locations of hidden treasures.
· Non-linear gameplay - in addition to the main story, sub-scenarios will
open up as players receive missions from the town's inhabitants.
· Catalogue your adventures - use the photography feature to record
incidents and marine life.
March 5, 2002
Acclaim have confirmed that they will be releasing Midway's Red Card on April 25th. This game is an extreme version of soccer, much like NHL Hitz and NFL Blitz.
Well there is only 3 days to go. If you don't know until what then you have been living under a rock. Anyone got a good price? Then e-mail it to me ASAP so I can report it here.
I have added a review to the port of United Game Artists' Space Channel 5 which was released on the Dreamcast last year. This is a pretty good game that people must consider, if only for the super sexy Ulala.
If you have a look at the poll to the right you will notice that I have added a Current Results link. This allows you to check the results during the month.
March 2, 2002
Some great news for PAL PS2 owners with Sony Australia today confirming that Frequency will be released here sometime in Winter (mid-year). This is great news as the game is one of the most original to come out of America in years, with some spectacular music.
Those of you looking for Parappa The Rappa 2 which was meant to be released on the 22nd February will have to wait a little longer. Sony has just confirmed that the game has been delayed until April 5th. While I haven't been able to confirm the reason for this delay it could be due to a fault in the game which causes it to play no sound when you have an optical lead on the system hooked up to a receiver/amp. Even the recent demo on the Official Playstation Magazine has the same problem. You must remove the optical lead to get sound.
Well there is a new poll on the site today. This month I am trying to see how often you visit Future Gamez. Last months results weren't that surprising with Virtua Fighter 4 your most wanted Sega game this year with a massive 47% of the vote. Next up was Sega's excellent shooter Rez with 19% and then Skies of Arcadia with a very solid 14% given its very recent announcement.
2001 E3 SHOW