JULY 2002 NEWS
July 30, 2002
Initially I wasn't overly keen on playing Drakan: The Ancients' Gates. Early reports were of a game suffering frame rate problems, and to be honest the game just didn't look exciting enough. How wrong I was. This is one of the best action/adventure/RPG games in years. Fans of the genre will want to pick up this game, but those unsure should read the review.
July 28, 2002
Sony Vs Chipping Vs ACCC
Saturday 27th July could be a major date in legal standings on mod chips in consoles in Australia, and potentially the world. According to this article and this article on ABC News a Federal Court Judge, Justice Ronald Sackville, ruled that selling mod chips was legal with Sony failing to prove that modifying or "chipping" a console breaks copyright legislation. The action from Sony was taken against a Sydney man who was modifying consoles and selling pirated games. He will still stand trial next month for selling pirated games. In a sense the ACCC also had a win as they have been arguing that by restricting mod chips the Australian public is being denied the opportunity to purchase cheaper games from overseas. Expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming months, and years.
Despite some last minute rumours of cancellation for XBox exclusivity Codemasters have just released the impressive looking Prisoner Of War. It should be on shelves now, or very early this week. Expect a review soon.
Sega of America have announced that Sega Sports Tennis, or Virtua Tennis 2 as Dremcast owners will know it as Virtua Tennis 2, will be released in America on July 30. As yet there has been no word on a PAL release, although if sales are strong enough, and given the quality they should be, we may see a release by Christmas.
ICO is one of the most exciting and interesting games in years, a real must-have game on the Playstation 2. Well the Japanese development team is about to announce details of their next project sometime this week. Will it be ICO 2? Certainly hope so, but it could be something totally different too. Stay tuned for more info.
The Playstation Experience Expo in England is only a couple of weeks away now and Capcom have announced the list of games which they will be showing. The games include Auto Modellista, Onimusha2 : Samurai's Destiny, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Gio Gio's Bizarre Adventure, and Dino Stalker.
An article in The Australian last week showed the massive gap between Playstation 2 and XBox in Australia with weekly sales of 8,200 against 2,300 for the XBox.
Sales in North America are also impressive. For the month of June the Playstation 2 sold 694,000 compared to 265,000 for XBox and 213,000 for Gamecube.
Well we also have Japanese sales figures thanks to web site Media Create. The following are the sales for the week ending July 21st, as well as the total sales for the year (in brackets):
Playstation 2: 95,300 (Annual: 191,800)
Gamecube: 27,400 (658,855)
XBox: 2,400 (223,100)
Dreamcast: 90 (17,000)
Nintendo 64: 70 (5,200)
July 25, 2002
When people think of signing contracts you usually think 6 month, a year, or perhaps 3 years. Activision have got the biggest of them all by signing none other then Tony Hawk until March 31st, 2015! Yes that's a whopping 13 more years of Tony Hawk appearing in Activision's titles. And no, I don't know how many games featuring the skateboarding legend we'll be seeing between now and 2015.
Well the higly anticipated Conflict: Desert Storm is still a couple of months away bu SCi are so confident about the game that they have announced two sequels. To be developed by Pivitol Games the first game is Conflict: Desert Sabre which is a sequel to the upcoming game and due in 2003 while 2004 will see Conflict: Missing Presumed Dead which is based on soldiers trapped behind enemy lines in Vietman.
According to Computer & Video Games Sony's impressive looking Dark Cloud 2 may never be released in Europe. No reason for the statement is given, although sales of the first game, Dark Cloud weren't overly exciting. If you haven't picked up the orginal I highly recommend it, and you may help Sony change their minds about the sequel coming out.
Deus Ex was released on the PC almost two years ago now. Doesn't seem that long ago really does it? Finally the Playstation 2 port is available, but how well does a two year old PC game port over to the console? Read the review to find out.
July 21, 2002
You know, sometimes I just get pissed off. As most of you know I live on the Gold Coast, I love the place. But today comes the news that Brad Pitt has ditched filming his latest movie (The Fountain) here at Warner Brothers Movie World Studios in favour for Fox Studios Sydney. The reason? He says he doesn't want to live on the Gold Coast! What the hell? How many times has he been here? What does he know about the Gold Coas? He's even planning on communting 1000km to film the outside scenes up here when required, but still won't live here. What makes this even more ludicrous is that the film is being financed by Warner Brothers, owners of Movie World.
Obviously Mr Pitt has been talking to Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr who, after they left the country, stated that they detested the Gold Coast so much that they had to fly to Sydney to have meal while filming Scooby-Doo. But these two high classed actors would know. One has starred in hits such as Wing Commander, Head Over Heals and Summer Catch while the other has starred in such gems as Scream 2, Cruel Intentions and Harvard Man. They complained that the press was always around - strangely at a time when they were trying to hide their engagement from everyone, despite strong rumouts. What do you expect?
What do I know however? I've only lived on the Gold Coast for 10 years. I've only been to over a hundred restaurants. Brisbane is only 40 minutes away which offers just as much, if not more, then the Gold Coast. Oh yes, we've had about 3 days of rain in 6 months, we have little pollution, we don't have traffic jams, we have thousands of houses on rivers and canals, we have beaches, we have parks, and we don't have to wear suits to work - in fact it's frowned upon. Oh, and we don't have heaters, because we don't damn well need them.
As far as I'm concerned we have two try hard actors stirring the pot because of their failures, and Mr Pitt has jumped on the bandwagon. Scooby-Doo was getting bad reviews, and Sarah and Freedie needed publicity - good or bad. They got it, but I will never watch one of their movies again - nor another of Brad Pitt's, unless there has been some massive misunderstanding. I say screw them, like they're screwing us.
July 19, 2002
Infogrames dropped a bit of a surprise on everyone today by announcing that Reflections are working on Driver 3 not only for Playstation 2 but also XBox, Gamecube and PC. The first two games in the series were PSOne exclusives. While this won't result in any dramatic changes to the game this does mean that the Playstation 2 loses what was expected to be an exclusive title. The game is expected sometime in 2003.
PC gamers have recently had a rather interesting game to play with called America's Army. The game has been developed by the US military to try to boost recruit numbers. While the game is technically excellent there have been plenty of problems playing it online. Users, myself included, have had the game drop out, had a hard time finding servers due to lack of server code being released as well as a few other niggles. The good news however is that rumours are building that the game will be coming to consoles. It is still to be confirmed, and it's unlikely to be free like the PC game, but it would certainly be welcome. Expect more news in the coming months.
Sony are still pressing ahead with technology that could be used in the Playstation 3. Recently the company has confirmed that they have secured the license to use MIPS64 architecture. This give Sony the capability of executing 32-bit and 64-bit code in binary form without the need to recompile the program. Just another step on the path to the PS3.
Run Like Hell is almost complete and should be released in August here in Australia. Announced at the E3 show way back in May 2000 the game has been hit by development delays and financial difficulties from publisher Interplay. As the official web site states "Run Like Hell puts you into the most suspenseful sci-fi adventure you can imagine. Try to stay alive and combat the danger that lurks around every dark corner. Some things are worse than death... ".
July 16, 2002
PS2.IGN has put up an interesting news article that Prisoner Of War may be canned on Playstation 2, and become an XBox exclusive. This seems rather unrealisitic given that the game is only weeks away from release, but Microsoft has deep pockets. IGN also state that the game has been removed from Codemasters web site, but not to my eyes it hasn't. As far as I am concerned this great looking game will still be out on time on July 26. Ozisoft could not be reached for comment.
Sony are holding the "Playstation Experience" show in Earl's Court, London from August 29-31. The even is open to the public for a small admission fee but will showcase plenty of great games for Playstation 2 (and a couple of PSOne titles). Sony Europe have just announced the list of what they will be showcasing to the public, all in playable form. The games include:
This is Football 2003
Formula 1 2002
Space Channel 5 V.2
Ratchet & Clank
Ape Escape 2
Mark of Kri
Stuntman has been in development at Reflections for some time now and looks like an exciting game. In Stuntman you play a stuntman who must set up and perform stunts for a series of moives. The developers of the Destruction Derby and Driver series' have combined solid graphics and an original game idea to create what could be one of the games of the year. Expect a release here in Australia in mid September.
July 12, 2002
Tecmo have confirmed they are currently working on Dead or Alive 4. The game was confirmed by Tecmo president Junji Nakamura who according to reports stated the following with regards to platforms: "It's too early to say which game console the game will be for", "We are an independent game software developer, and we are not committed to one particular game-console maker." So after the previous version was an XBox only even it's possible that the sequel will be back on Sony's system. Expect more news in a few months time prior to a late 2003 release.
Those of you looking for Star Trek Voyager Elite Force will have to wait just a little longer as Ozisoft have confirmed the game has been pushed back slightly until August 2nd.
Sega are apparently on the hunt for a major acquisision. An article in the Wall Street Journal said that the company is looking to acquire both US and European publishers to expand their publishing presence. About the only company that Sega couldn't afford to buy is the monolith that is Electronic Arts which leaves a lot of companies in the firing line. One of the hottest tips at the moment is none other then Infogrames which has published Sega's titles in Europe in recent times. Expect more news soon.
Sony has once again decided to ramp up production of the Playstation 2. According to Core Magazine Sony Computer Entertainment communications director Koichiro Katsurayama revealed today that PlayStation 2 production will be increased, possibly up to 3 million units per month by fall (Spring in Australia). Sony are currently manufacturing 2 million units per month, which is up from 1.5 million earlier this year.
Gran Turismo Concept Tokyo-Geneva isn't a true sequel to last years hit game, but rather is a slightly simplified game (in the menus, not the phyisics) with several graphical enhancements. Perhaps the most exciting thing is taht the game will include almost 100 concept cars from around the world, and some are pretty strange. Details and screenshots inside.
July 8, 2002
Here is a list of the 10 fastest selling Playstation 2 games in Japan after only their first week of release. Here's the all time Top 10 list:
Final Fantasy X (Square) - 1,831,843
Onimusha 2 (Capcom) - 644,503
Onimusha (Capcom) - 596,866
Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (Sony) - 482,598
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Konami) - 462,172
Kingdom Hearts (Square) - 415,910
Mobile Suit Gundam Federation Vs Zeon (Bandai) - 394,950
Super Robot Taisen Impact (Banpresto) - 394,508
Devil May Cry (Capcom) - 393,272
Virtua Fighter 4 (Sega) - 337,810
Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament is the latest tennis game from Namco, but instead of anime styled players as seen in previous versions of the game it includes real life players such as Pat Rafter and Anna Kournikova. This is the first tennis game on the Playstation 2 and was released just in time for Wimbledon. Is it just as exciting as the real thing? Read the review to find out.
July 5, 2002
Although Infogrames are still hard at work on their original Terminator game, Terminator: Dawn of Fate the company has announced that they have secured the rights to a game based on the upcoming Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The game should be released in 2003. The agreement will allow the company to release games on all consoles and PC, with the first game due at the same time as the movie, July 2003. Furthermore if Terminator 4 is ever made the company also has the rights to that movie as well. No word yet on game details, but expect plenty of action.
Acclaim Australia have been kind enough to send through their lates release schedules and while some games such as MegaRace III, Dune and Jekyl and Hyde have been canned there are several new one on this list. More details on them later but here is the release schedule:
Out Now: Fire Blade
25/07/02: Aggressive Inline
15/08/02: AFL Live 2003
06/09/02: Turok Evolution
26/09/02: Riding Spirits
30/09/02: Eggo Mania, Legion: Legend Of Excalibur, Gravity Games Bike; Street, Dirt, Vert
17/10/02: Reign Of Fire, Ecks V Sever
31/10/02: Burnout 2: Point Of Impact
14/11/02: Powerpuff Girls: In A Pickle
30/11/02: Legends Of Wrestling 2, Batman : Dark Tomorrow, Vexx, Dave Mirra XXX
Rambus president Avo Kanadjian has hinted that Rambus may be the only provider able to reach the demands required by the Playstation 3 in terms of RAM. According to Mr. Kanadjian, Sony is interested in a memory architecture capable of transferring 10 GB/sec for the PS3. In previous discussions regarding the PlayStation 3, Sony's technical director Shinichi Okamoto has touted the system's performance as 1000 times faster than the PS2. Based on pricing and technical factors, insiders believe Sony plans to incorporate two RDRAM chips based on Rambus' Yellowstone architecture, capable of 12 GB/sec performance, in the PlayStation 3. Thanks to Xengamers for the news.
After much anticipation Britney's Dance Beat is finally available in stores. This dancing simulation will have you pressing buttons until your thumb is red raw. But the question remains - How much variety is there in a game where you have to press the buttons required in time with the music. Read the review to find out.
July 3, 2002
Activision's Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 will be available a little later this year, but the company has just announced a list of the music in the game, and it's very impressive. The complete track list includes the following;
N.E.R.D. - "Rock Star"
Fugazi - "guilford"
Suicidal Tendencies - "Institutionalized"
LL Cool J - "Rock the Bells"
Iggy Pop - "The Passenger"
Eric B. & Rakim - "Juice (Know the Ledge)"
Ice T- "Reckless"
Crazy Town - "Toxic"
Bad Brains - "I against I"
Dub Pistols - "Official Chemical"
Gang of Four - "Damaged Goods"
Digital Assassins - "Return of the Living Bassheads (Somethin' Really Bad)"
Swollen Members - "Fuel Injected"
MC Cool Rock - "Boot the Booty"
Spoon - "Take a Walk"
Bombfunk MC's - "Freestyler"
Secret Hate - "Kevsadic"
Jazzhole - "Forward Motion"
Dislocated Styles - "Unified"
Bad Ronald - "All a Dream"
THQ have confirmed that they will be publishing Sammy's Lethal Pilot: Elite Skies Team SW here in Australia. The game will be released on September 20th. Here are some details about the game:
Pure Speed. Pure Combat. Pure Action.
Global warming threatens life on earth. Frozen regions of Siberia have melted, submerging entire countries. As part of an elite group of pilots assembled by the World Alliance, your mission is to take out the World Order Reorganisation Front, an organisation that exploits natural disasters for its own benefit.
Customisable gameplay: Select your mission and the number of sorties (1-4). While the types and number of loading equipment have a convenient default setting, they are also customisable. All briefings and information screens are available on demand.
Easy-to-use interface: Adjust controls, modify equipment and access destination options, such as "to battleship, "to helicopter" and "valley route" without being distracted from gameplay.
Stunning graphics: Planes and environments are recreated with painstaking accuracy. Special effects are equally spectacular. Optional replays allow you to relive great manoeuvres or learn from fatal mistakes.
Square and Sony have confirmed that shipments of Final Fantasy X have surpassed 1 million units in PAL territories.
According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun Japanese sales of the Playstation 2 will hit over 10 million units this July. These sales targets have been met five months quicker then it took the PSOne to do way back in 1996.
No One Lives Forever isn't based on James Bond, but it might as well be. Starring Cate Archer, a kick ass cat burgular recruited by the good guys, this game will see you battling through a lengthy game. But not only does it include FPS sections but also plenty of stealth elements, and a terrifiec sense of humour. Check out the review now.
Drakan: The Ancient's Gates is about to be released this Friday, so there is just enough time to have a look at the preview. If you've played the PC original then this sequel should grab your attention immediatly. If you haven't played the PC original, don't worry as this game provides a new storyline, and has a console emphasis. This action RPG should keep you busy for some time. Check out the preview now.
2002 E3 SHOW
2001 E3 SHOW