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FEBRUARY 2004 NEWS

February 28, 2004

    Games
    UbiSoft, bless their little hearts for some wonderful gaming last year, have just announced that the hottest game of early 2004, Far Cry is coming to the XBox, and another console. According to C&VG, this other console pretty much means the PS2, especially with Gamecube sales flagging and UbiSoft's strong presence on PS2. The game will be changed for consoles, certainly the graphics will be toned down from the PC's stunning visuals. Expect some detailed announcements at the E3 show in May.

    Review
    Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance is Acclaim's game to cash in on the latest fad of ancient gladiatorial combat. Chris has been playing the game for a couple of weeks now, and the verdict is somewhat mixed. Read the full review of this bloody game now.

    Hardware
    CNN Money has confirmed that the PSP, Sony's handheld system, will not be released in America or Europe until early 2005. The system will still be released in Japan late this year. The reason for the delay is apparently to ensure enough software is available. Nintendo are still planning on releaseing their Gameboy DS (Dual Screen) by the end of the year.

    Too Cool....
    Some things in this world are so cool that they deserve worldwide headlines. Such is the case with this story - it's something that will remain a historic event. Scott Kessler from North Carolina has completed the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) version of Super Mario Brothers in - get this - 5 minutes 17 seconds! Awesome. Click this link to get the details.

February 27, 2004

    Games
    Sony have confirmed several new games for release late in 2004. The titles include Jak III a more then welcome sequel to Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Jak II: Renegade. The second game is Ratchet & Clank 3, sequel to Ratchet & Clank and Ratchet & Clank 2. The third game confirmed for release is Sly Cooper 2: Band of Thieves. It's certainly shaping up as a stunning Christmas for PS2 owners, before focus starts shifting to Playstation 3 for Christmas 2005 (hopefully).

    According to rumours Capcom are in the process of porting their Gamecube game, Viewtiful Joe to the Playstation 2. Capcom are still to confirm development.

February 24, 2004

    Review
    Final Fantasy X-2 is the first true sequel in the Final Fantasy universe. As you would expect this remains true to the series - in quality and ambition. There have been a few changes to the game with female lead characters, and improved battle systems. Here's a full review of Square's latest.

    Games
    Well this one slipped through my sights for some reason, but a couple of weeks ago Acclaim have officially announced AFL Live Premiership Edition. Here's the full press release:

      ACCLAIM ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD (AUSTRALIAN DIVISION) ANNOUNCES ‘AFL LIVE PREMIERSHIP EDITION’ FOR PLAYSTATION 2 COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM, XBOX AND PC

      Impactful, challenging, high-involvement football from the developers of AFL Live 2003 and AFL Live 2004 is set to outdo any AFL game of the past, launching April 2004.

      Announced today, Acclaim Entertainment Pty Ltd will release AFL Live Premiership Edition on the 23rd April 2004. The April release date is in line with the Anzac Day Game and round 5 of the AFL season.

      The 3rd release in the AFL series maintains a stronger, look, feel and presence. Additional special features such as:
      - Unlockable video content
      - All-Australian Team
      - Heritage Round Jumpers
      - Updated MCG
      - Updated 2004 Player Lists
      - Complete 2004 fixture
      - Brownlow and Norm Smith Medals
      - New Wizard Cup Rules
      - Gameplay Improvements
      - Multiplayer Missions
      - PS2 Multi-Tap Support - up to 4 players (PS2).

      AFL Live Premiership Edition is sure to leave AFL fans, gamers and enthusiasts more than satisfied. This is set to be one of the most outstanding AFL games yet.

      “AFL Live Premiership Edition, not only gives our consumers a completely updated game but more importantly it gives it to them at the beginning of the season. This will enable the gamer to play round by round in line with the weekly televised matches”, commented Andrew Weatherburn, Director of Sales and Marketing, Acclaim Entertainment Pty Ltd.

      “Understanding the consumers wants and needs is important to us thus we encourage feedback”. stated Melinda Schipano, Marketing and PR Manager, Acclaim Entertainment Pty Ltd. “We have ensured that all of the fans comments we received regarding AFL Live 2003 and 2004 did not go unnoticed”.

      “It’s great to be continuing to work with Acclaim Entertainment. Acclaim have proven their passion for football with the AFL Live series of interactive games and their love for it with AFL Live Premiership Edition”, commented Alex Ishchenko, AFL Retail and Licensing Manager.

      AFL Live Premiership Edition will be available for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox, and PC. The game is being developed by IR GURUS, one of Australia’s most respected independent game development studios. Based in Carlton and with over 8 year’s development experience. They have put together an all new team promising to deliver the best AFL Live game yet. Further information and screenshots can be found at www.afllive.com.au

February 21, 2004

    Games
    According to Electronics Boutique Gran Turismo 4 will be released in Australia in September. EB's don't usually have the most accurate release date, but given that SCEE recently stated it would be at least July in Europe it fits in pretty well.

    Disgaea: The Hour of Darkness has been confirmed for release in Europe through Koei. The RPG will be released in May. No word yet if THQ will be bringing the title to Australia, but you'll be the first to know if they do.

    Release Schedule
    Just a note to remind everyone that the release schedule is updated almost weekly, and has just been updated with all current planned Australian released. To check it out click on the Previews option on the menu, or click here.

February 19, 2004

    Games
    UbiSoft have today confirmed that Splinter Cell 2: Pandora Tomorrow has been delayed until an unspecified 2004 date. The reason for the delay is that UbiSoft Shanghai have moved all their development teams onto the XBox version to get that complete by the late March release date. No word yet on a new date, however it is possible, but not confirmed that much like the original Splinter Cell we may get some extras. Expect more news soon.

    Namco has confirmed that Smash Court Pro Tournament 2 is in development for the Playstation 2. The original title (reviewed here) was released in 2004 and is an excellent tennis title - this sequel is more then welcome. The game will include official tournaments and players from around the world, but online gameplay hasn't been mentioned yet. Expect a release in Q'3 2004.

February 16, 2004

    Games
    According to reports Electronic Arts are set to unveil a new Bond based game at this years E3 show. Rather then an all new storyline and setting EA's Redwood Shores studio are developing a game based on the 1995 movie, Goldeneye. Naturally EA will be hoping this game recieves the same critical acclaim and commercial success as Rare's classic Nintendo 64 - although the titles will be quite different. Interestingly Free Radical Design, who developed the N64 game, may not be involved in this title at all as they are working on Timesplitters 3 for Electronic Arts. Electornic Arts will be releasing Bond: Everything or Nothing later this month.

    Electronic Arts has confirmed that the are developing a game based on the upcoming movie, Catwoman starring Halle Berry. The game is being developed by Argonaut and will be an action/adventure game. Expect a release around July/August to coincide with the movies worldwide release.

    Hardware
    Nintendo have confirmed they will be showing off their next console at the E3 show in May. Could it be that Microsft, Nintendo and Sony will unveil their next generation of consoles all at one event? It's looking quite possible.

    One of the most unusual peripherals to make its way to Playstation 2 in Japan is a massive kitana (sword) for use in Onimusha 3 when it gets a release later this year. Now there is some good news with Hori, the devices manufacturer, setting up in America and planning on releasing the peripheral over there when the game releases in May. The chances of it coming to PAL territories have increased, but remain slim. The retail price in Japan is around $AU200.

February 13, 2004

    Games
    Kill.Switch hasn't been previewed on this site, but the action title is set for release on February 20th. What is perhaps more exciting to some people is the confirmation that the game will include a demo of SOCOM II: US Navy Seals as well as a video preview of Sony's upcoming stealth/action title Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain.

    Sony has announced that there are now 1.5 million Playstation 2 owners playing online. That's apparenly twice as many as online gamers on the XBox. The PS2 can expect a couple more major online boosts when SOCOM II is released in Europe in March, and Gran Turismo 4 is unleashed... whenever.

    Forums
    Click here to go to the forums and post a message. Why? Because it's the easiest way to ask a question and get answers (Chris and I are in there almost daily), be it about release dates, gameplay, or anything else. There are almost 4000 posts in the forums. See you there.

    Preview
    Neo Contra is the second time Konami's legendary series has made it onto the PS2. Even though the original title was basically a re-hash of the SNES classic and didn't set the charts alight, Konami are putting a lot of effort into this title. Even at this early stage (it's not due until Q'4 2004 at the earliest) it's looking awesome.

February 11, 2004

    Games
    Electronic Arts have, as expected, announced officially that they will be publishing Burnout 3 on consoles this year. Here's the press release.

      TOP SELLING BURNOUT FRANCHISE RETURNS IN 2004

      Sydney – February 10, 2004 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS), the world's leading interactive entertainment software company and UK-based developer Criterion Games, today announced a development and publishing partnership for the upcoming title Burnout™ 3*. The latest title in the critically acclaimed Burnout series is slated for worldwide release in September 2004 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft®. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

      Originally released in 2001, Burnout introduced thrill-seeking game players to an adrenaline-filled arcade-style racing experience. The original title was followed with the release of Burnout2: Point of Impact in 2002. Featuring racing action unlike any other title in the category, the two releases earned widespread critical acclaim and sold over 2 million units worldwide.

      "Burnout is already a hit arcade racing franchise and we are delighted to be working closely with Criterion to take the series to the next level in order to achieve the level of success that the series has always deserved," said Bruce McMillan, Executive Vice President, EA Worldwide Studios. "With its action-oriented game design and remarkable production values, we believe that Burnout is a perfect fit for our racing game portfolio."

      "Working closely with EA's European Studio on the development of Burnout 3 is exciting for Criterion and the Burnout series. We are thrilled that the game will benefit from EA's development and publishing expertise that ensures a worldwide audience will be able to enjoy this phenomenal game," said Fiona Sperry, Studio Head, Criterion Software. "We are confident that through this partnership, this fantastic game will be made even better."

      Burnout 3 takes the series even further, now featuring a unique 'crash and burn' racing concept and a one-of-a-kind special effects engine that delivers spectacular visuals. The intensity heats up as players race, and often crash, their way through oncoming traffic in an attempt to claim the top spot. Boasting multiple single-player, multiplayer and online** crash and race modes, Burnout 3 offers players the opportunity to race through busy city streets and be rewarded for taking risks that result in heart-pounding action and electrifying crashes.

      (* Working title)
      (** Online for PlayStation®2 only)

    Preview
    Terminator 3: Redemption is, fortunately, being developed by a completely different developer to the deplorable Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. We're still waiting for a good Terminator based game on consoles. While Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines shouldn't exist as a game, the demo of this new game (which is included on the previous game) shows much potential.

February 10, 2004

    Games
    Those of you looking for Sonic Heroes won't have to wait long. Although it never made it out to stores last week as expected it has apparently shipped.

    Preview
    Fight Night 2004 is the latest boxing game from Electronic Arts. It's been a couple of years since they released their last boxing title, Knockout Kings 2002, but much like SSX3 this lengthy delay has given the developers time to re-invent the series with several major changes. Here's a preview.

February 9, 2004

    Games
    Electronic Arts and Marvel (the comic book company) have entered an agreement for Electronic Arts to create a new fighting game featuring characters from the Marvel universe, as well as new characters from Electronic Arts. The game is scheduled for release in late 2005. The game is currently in development at EA's Canada studio.

    Square Enix has confirmed that their strategy game, Front Mission 4, will be coming to America in June. No word yet on a possible PAL release.

    Neversoft, the company who develops Tony Hawk for Activision has confirmed they are setting up a second development team to work on new game ideas. At the moment the company only develops the extreme sports title, with Spider-man in 2000 being their last non-Tony Hawk release. Expect more news in future.

    Review
    Everquest Online Adventures is one of the most popular Massively Online Multiplay Role Playing Games (MMORPG) on the PC (although it was only titled Everquest on that system) and the port to PS2 is fairly solid. Does it stand the test of time though? Chris has completed the full review of this online-only title.

February 5, 2004

    Games
    UbiSoft has confirmed that Prince of Persia 2 is in development through their financial statements. For those of you without the best game of 2003, go check out Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time now. Go on, get moving.

    Review
    NFL Street is Electronic Arts' street version of American Football. The timing couldn't be better with the Superbowl this week and while there were some distractions that overshadowed that game there is little to overshadow this exciting effort. Here's the full review for you to check out.

February 3, 2004

    Games
    Sony Australia have announced release dates for some of their major titles. The first is their survival horror game Forbidden Siren which is coming out on March 12th. Another game that is going to get a lot more of you interested is SOCOM II. That game is going to be released on March 12th also. Get those headsets ready again. Online games may also be interested to head that This is Football 2004 is set for release on March 19th. The Jet Li based game Rise To Honor has been delayed from March to April 16th.

    Review
    NBA Jam is one of the games we get asked about the most regarding when this review was going to appear. For one reason or another the review has taken some time to get around to. If you were thinking about buying this game, or hoping that Midway could rebuild one of their premiere game brands, you may want to read this review.

February 2, 2004

    Games
    Sega have announced that they are developing a game based around Astro Boy. This is tremendous news as Astro Boy is one of the worlds strongest cartoon brands with millions of fans worldwide to this day despite the cartoon series only including around 100 episodes made in the 1950's. What's even more exciting is that the game is being developed at Sonic Team with Yuji Naka overseeing development. Astro Boy is slated for release in the American Summer (Winter here in Australia) with no PAL release scheduled as yet.

    Sega have also confirmed that they have secured the rights to develop games based on Samurai Jack. Titled Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku is being developed by Adrenium Games and has input from Tartakovsky (the characters creater who also created Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory), as well as the show's artists, voice actors and composers. The game will be released in America on March 16th this year. Once again a PAL release has not been confirmed.

    Preview
    Forbidden Siren is one of the best looking games ever. This survival horror game has some interesting gameplay innovations including the ability to take over other peoples vision, which make this one to keep and eye on (ok, lame joke). Expect Forbidden Siren to be released in Australia this March.


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