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DECEMBER 2004 NEWS

WE'LL BE BACK ON JANUARY 8TH... DON'T FREAK OUT.. WE JUST NEED TIME TO SOBER UP FROM CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR

December 24, 2004

    2004 FUTURE GAMEZ AWARDS
    The passing of another year means it is time to pass on the awards for the best and worst of 2004. Given that we won't be updating in the coming weeks we have put up all the winners in one hit. In these awards you will see the best engine, best sports title, best adventure game, best sound, best graphics and best overall game of 2004. If you have a PS2 you MUST check out this list to ensure you have the best of the best.

    Christmas Message
    Crikey... has it really been 12 months since the last Christmas! Well I guess thats pretty obvious given the date but it doesn't feel like it. This year has flown by probably due to the number of awesome titles released on the Playstation 2 which is higher then ever before. This Christmas has given the PS2 more AAA titles then ever before and by mid next year there will be well over 1,000 titles available here. Can you believe that. In only just over 4 years gamers have over 1,000 games to choose from.

    Running a site such as this could not be done without the tremendous support from all the companies, and the wonderful staff whom I deal with on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Thanks go to: Acclaim/Ben Pollock, Activision/Mark Aubrey & Joel Graham, Atari/Chris Eade (what can I say.. you da man!), Eidos/Maria Deevoy & Nichola Bryan (I'll Get on Da Mic when I get back from holidays!), Electronic Arts/Burchin Ergin & Jamie McKinlay (is there a company EA won't take over!), Red Ant/Ivone Bozzi & Annette Vitetta & Natalie Kulakovska, Sony Australia & related companies/Amanda Starr & Helen Boole & Marie Najjar & Bronwyn Stubbs & Matthew Manners & Adrian Christie (Sorry if I missed someone, there are so many of you...), Take Two Interactive/Leigh Harris & Simon Ramsey (Highlight of the year... GTA:SA), THQ/Estelle Cleaver & Daniel Armstrong & Chris Wright & Ben Pollock (Ben - Good [forced] move...), UbiSoft/Owen Hughes, and finally Vivendi/Chris Davey & Colin Brown & Sarah Frare (Vivendi surived, and thrived!).

    Of course it's the loyal readers that make the site worthwhile and this year has seen more people then ever before visiting Future Gamez. Thank you all. Next year will be even bigger as we move to cover the PS3 which is shaping up as a killer system.

    Please note that Future Gamez is taking a well deserved break until January 8th...
    Merry Christmas,
    David Warner, Chris Gobbett and Brodie Gibbons.

    Review
    Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal has one of those names that you'll either love (which we do) or hate (but I don't know why). What is certain, however, is that this is an awesome game. The gameplay is frantic and the inclusion of online gameplay is a massive bonus to fans of the series. Check out our exclusive review now.

    Birthday & Graduation Wishes
    Just a quick message to wish Chris Gobbet, a long time contributer to the site, a very happy Birthday for this past Wednesday. Congratulations are also in order for his graduation from University with a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Systems Engineering) & Bachelor of Science (Maths & Computer Science).

December 22, 2004

    Games
    Well it has now been confirmed that EA has taken a 19.9% stake in Ubisoft. This is confirmed in this press release.

    Electronic Arts has announce details on their next Medal of Honor title. Called Medal of Honor: Dogs of War the game is once again set in Europe, this time during 1942. You are US Army Lieutenant William Holt, hand-picked by William "Wild Bill" Donovan to be the first field agent of the newly formed Office of Strategic Services-the OSS. Medal of Honor Dogs of War makes you the driving force in the struggle to liberate Europe.
    As with the original Medal of Honor, producers sought counsel from numerous expert sources to make certain the game is historically accurate and as realistic as possible. The EA Los Angeles development team continues to work closely with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to ensure that Medal of Honor Dogs of War reflects the ideals and integrity of the prestigious Medal of Honor. In addition, Capt. Dale Dye, who served as Military Technical Advisor on the previous titles in the Medal of Honor franchise, continues his efforts with the Medal of Honor Dogs of War team to ensure the authenticity of the experience. Expect a detailed preview in the new year.

December 21, 2004

    Games
    According to the Wall Street Journal Electronic Arts is set to buy a 20% share of Ubisoft valued at between $US85 and $US100 million dollars. This comes as a pretty big shock in an industry which is in a transition phase to the next generation of systems, but given the growing number of stron IP (Intellectual Properties) which Ubisoft has such as Rayman, Prince of Persia, Beyond Good & Evil, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and so on. No word or confirmation yet from either company.

    Games
    Namco have announced details regarding a new game mode which will appear in Tekken 5 when the game is released next year. This game mode is an adventure game starring Jin Kazama. The game will allow him to move in 3D to battle cyborg enemies. He will be able to hang from ledges and perform double jumps as well as normal attacking moves.

    Review
    The Getaway: Black Monday the long awaited sequel to Sony's 2002 Christmas smash hit. The first game had some problems, however, primarily in the on foot sections of the game. Fortunately you would think that two years would be enough time to fix these issues. Wouldn't it Team Soho? You'd better read out exclusive review to find out.

December 20, 2004

    Games
    It looks like Juiced has finally been given a release date in America at least. The game, which was only days from release until Acclaim went belly-up. The game is now scheduled for release through THQ in May 2005. The company has given developers Juiced Games extra time to polish off the title with more tracks, more cars and improved graphics - a good thing given some average reviews days before the original release was scheduled.

December 19, 2004

    Games
    Radical Games has confirmed that they are developing a new game based on The Hulk. To be called The Incredible Hulk the game will allow gamers to pick up any object and use them in weapons. Perhaps more impressively the game will be free roaming so The Hulk can run around anywhere in the game world. Expect a mid-2005 release.

    Review
    Ford Racing 3 is the third game in Empire Interactive's racing series which includes... wait for it... Ford cars, and Ford cars only. For fans of the car manufacturer you would think that this is the game made in heaven. Unfortunately it's not. It may still interest you, but I suggest you read our exclusive review first.

December 18, 2004

    Games
    Just a note that Electronic Arts have released the fixed Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 on Playstation 2. The game has been available in stores for about a week now. If you needed to exchange the title now is the time to do it before Christmas - if you can cope with the crowds!

    Well here's some good news to come out of the EA/NFL exclusivity deal. Midway have confirmed that they will be progressing with development of Blitz: Playmakers. With the game no longer restricted by the NFL license the developers will be going all out with the game. We can expect on-field roughness and post try celebrations - something which the NFL typically frowns upon in games (and real life). Expect a late 2005 release.

    Review
    Prince of Persia Warrior Within is the sequel to last years Game of the Year here on Future Gamez. Ubisoft have made the game much darker in tone, but also give the Prince a much more elaborate combat arsenal. With such a change, however, will, or should, fans of the original be back for more? Read our review to find out...

December 17, 2004

    Games
    Capcom has announced that Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 will be released in America on April 15th, 2005. Hopefully the PAL release won't be too far behind, but following poor sales of the original they will certainly want to include online support this time...

    Capcom has confirmed that Rockman X8 (known as Megaman X8 outside Japan) will be released in Japan on March 10th. The game is already available in America however the company wants the PS2 and PC versions released at the same time there.

    Konami's Enthusia Professional Racing racing title has been given a date of March 17th in Japan. The simulation/game has been receiving more and more positive press in recent months and looks like being a key title for the company. No word yet on the PAL release date.

    Konami has confirmed that Ys: The Ark of Napishtim will be release in Japan on March 10th. The game has been confirmed for release in America, but no date has been announced yet. Possibility of a PAL release? Virtually nil.

    Review
    Mortal Kombat: Deception isn't just a slight upgrade to the previous game. The developers at Midway have gone all-out to make this the greatest game in the series. More characters and more levels as expected but also Chess Kombat and Puzzle Kombat modes which play very well indeed. Of cours online gameplay also makes a welcome appearance for the first time, and is splendid. Here's our exclusive review...

December 15, 2004

    Games
    According to reports the price tag for EA to gain the exclusive rights to the NFL - over $US300 million. That's about $AU400 million - certainly not small change!

    Competition Winners
    Well here's a list of the winners for THQ's Under The Skin as well as the answers they had for question 3 which was "What gets under your skin?". The answer to Question 1 (What overall score did THQ's Dynasty Warriors 4 receive?) was 89% and Question 2 (THQ is releasing a title in February called The Bard's Tale. Who is developing the game?) was inXile. So, onto the winners...

    T. McLoughlin: Rude people, Liars and Bullies get right Under My Skin.. and crawl around driving me insane (r)! Also Politicians (see Liars).

    P. Iliffe: What gets under my skin is when I don't win any of the best competitions on the net when I try really hard!

    R. Langley: The fact that there are so many great games avaliable at the moment, yet I've got to practice for Supplementary exams instead. Bah.

    H. Phuong: Those little ticks, literally can get under your skin, so anything bad, itchy or sore gets under my skin!

    T. Lee: The price of games. I bought my kids a PS2 last Christmas because it was relatively cheap and we still hardly have any games.

December 14, 2004

    Games
    Well this is MASSIVE news on the sports games front. The NFL has confirmed that they have signed a 5-year exclusivity deal with EA Games meaning that they are the only company that can develop NFL branded games for PC and consoles. For the next 5 years if you want to play a NFL game you will only have one choice. While most other companies have jumped off the NFL bandwagon the news is very bad for Sega, Take Two and fans of NFL2K. Of course less competition may also see EA's games stagnate creatively.

    Koei have confirmed that Dynasty Warriors 5 will be released in Europe in "Summer" 2005, with the Australian release likely around the same time (that's our Winter). The game is being developed by the Omega Force team.

    Codemasters has confirmed that they have halted work on their Club Football series of games. The first bunch of games were critical and commerical disappointments.

    Review
    Jak 3 is the final game in the trilogy. Naughty Dog have built the series into one of the best on the Playstation 2 after dominating the PSOne with their Crash Bandicoot games. Once again the developers have wrapped up development with plenty of promise and potential. Read out exclusive review now to get the full lowdown on this extraordinary title.

December 13, 2004

    Japanese PSP Launch
    As some of you may be aware the PSP, or Playstation Portable, was released in Japan this week. With Sony only expecting 500,000 units to be available by Christmas there was little doubt that the system would be hot and indeed the line-up at some Japanese stores stretched around the block. The PAL release is expected in March.

    Games
    Pivotal Games has confirmed that the next game in the Conflict series will be Conflict: Global Terror. Here's the press release from Atari with all the details:

      FOURTH CONFLICT TITLE ANNOUNCED: CONFLICT: GLOBAL TERROR

      Sydney, Australia – 13 December, 2004 – Atari, one of Australia’s leading sources of interactive entertainment and SCi Games announces today announces the title of the next game in the number 1 selling Conflict series, as “Conflict: Global Terror”. Conflict: Global Terror, due for release in Spring 2005, is set in the very near future and focuses on the increasing threat of terrorism gripping the world. Developed by Bath-based Pivotal Games, Conflict: Global Terror takes the Conflict brand in a new direction from previous installments of the best-selling games series.

      Teaming up once again with the original Desert Storm Delta Force - Bradley, Foley, Connors and Jones - your four men now form part of an elite anti-terrorist unit tasked with minimising the worldwide threat from active global terrorist groups. The game takes place across the world, in a number of different and hostile locations and against a merciless and corrupt enemy; this is your squad’s greatest challenge to date.

      Ray Livingston, Product Manager for SCi Games said; “Without giving away too much at this early stage, Conflict: Global Terror has taken all the best bits from the previous three games and added a whole lot more. We are conscious of keeping fans of the previous games happy while at the same time attracting a new audience to the Conflict brand and we’re sure the result will do just that.”

      Conflict: Global Terror will be available on Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and PC in Spring 2005

    Competition
    Just so you know the compeition to win a copy of THQ's Under The Skin has now closed. The winners will be announced on this site soon, and contacted shortly.

December 12, 2004

    Games
    Get ready of plenty of reviews in the coming days... We have plenty lined up ready to go. As you may have noticed we're kicking off today with some old school gaming in Konami's Gradius V.

    Review
    Gradius V is an old-school shoot 'em up and Konami have created one of the best games in the genre for years. If you're a hardcore gamer, or fan of the series there is little reason not to pick up this title. Best of all Konami have been kind enough to port the game to PAL territories which is much appreciated. Here's our exclusive review.

December 9, 2004

    Playstation 3
    Well we all know about the Sony/Toshiba/IBM deal to develop the CELL Processor which is strongly rumoured (and now almost certainly confirmed) for use in PS3, but something which has remained unknown is the graphics chip. Sony have just announced that the Playstation 3 (or whatever it is called) will include a graphics chip developed by none other then NVidia, makers of GeForce cards in PC's. Development on the chip has been taking place over the last two years. As yet no specs have been revealed.

    Review
    Silent Hill 4: The Room isn't just another survival horror game, it's a continuation of Konami's hugely successful and popular series. Brodie has spent quite some time playing this title, and likes what he sees. If you want something to scare the crap out of you then this may be it. Check out our exclusive review now.

December 7, 2004

    Games
    We seemed to miss this press release the other day. It's for a little game called Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. If you were disappointed by the PAL release being pushed back until March 2005 (while America and Japan are getting the game before Christmas) you can be happy to hear that Konami are giving us some bonuses.

      METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER EXTENDED FOR PAL FANS!

      European versions of Hideo Kojima’s jungle epic to include all-new and exclusive gameplay additions…

      Sydney, Australia – 3 December, 2004 – Atari Australia and Konami announces that the forthcoming PAL versions of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will include an extensive array of gameplay features not seen in the Japanese and US versions.

      Scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 in March 2005, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater represents a new standard in stealth action titles and is already one of the most anticipated games of the year. For the game, series creator and Director Hideo Kojima has moved away from the urban environments of the game’s predecessors and has created a lush jungle setting, while the new game also acts as a prequel to the previous games with a 1960s Cold War setting.

      As befits a new Metal Gear Solid title, Kojima has packed the game with a wealth of new gameplay features. These range from a ‘Camouflage Index’ wherein players can change Solid Snake’s costume to match the surrounding area and help evade discovery, through to a stunning CQC (Close Quarters Combat) system, to allow for the most advanced hand-to-hand combat techniques yet. However, and in keeping with the Director’s history of adding plentiful exclusive content to PAL editions, Australian gamers will get more Snake for their money than their US and Japanese counterparts.

      The PAL versions of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will thus feature a new ‘DUEL MODE’ which allows players to play through the game’s ‘Boss Fights’ independently, showcasing the rich variety of adversaries Snake faces during the course of the game. A ‘DEMO THEATRE’ has also been created, and can be used to play the game’s stunning link sequences in order to enjoy the many dramatic plot twists in order.

      Kojima is also planning a number of other PAL-exclusive features for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, more of which will be announced in the run up to the game’s launch.

    Capcom has confirmed that Devil May Cry 3 will be released in Japan on February 17, 2005. Fortunately we can expect a PAL release around mid-2005. Keep the calendar marked, this game looks much better then the lackluster prequel.

    Sony has confirmed that Wild Arms: The 4th Detonator will be released in Japan in March 2005. No word yet if the game will make it to America or Europe.

    Review
    Formula One 2004 is the latest in Sony's long running Formula One titles. As expected the official license allows the developers to use all the real drivers and tracks - but does that ensure the game is going to be quality, or more importantly, fun to play. Chris has spent quite some time playing this game and his opinions may surprise you, but they aren't one I diagree with either. Check out our exclusive review now.

December 5, 2004

    Games
    One of the biggest and best games for hardcore gamers has been released this week through Ignition with little more then a whimper. The game is none other then The King of Fighters: The Saga Continues which includes both the 2000 and 2001 versions of the game. The release is pretty limited so you may have to hunt around but Ignition have also released the game at a super cheap price of $49.95. Beats the $400 price for the Neo Geo versions.

    Review
    Under The Skin. Heard of it before? Of course you have. We've been running a competition to give away 5 copies this month. (You can enter by clicking here). Capcom should be applauded. Many recent games are quite original. Viewtiful Joe, Killer 7 and Under the Skin are all making a mark. Here's a review of the latter.

    Site Updates
    Sorry for the lack of updates lately guys.. there's a couple of reasons. Firstly work has given me the boot for reasons which I won't go into here so I've been packing up 7 years worth of stuff. That's a long time at one school, although my roles as the IT Administrator and Teacher were always changing. So if there's anyone that lives on the Gold Coast and has a job for me let me know. We have also been flat out playing the hottest games so from next week you can expect at least one, possibly two, reviews a day to make sure we cover all the pre-Christmas titles. Finally we are looking at something very different for next year... Can't say much now, but needless to say this is only the beginning...

    Competition
    A reminder that Future Gamez, thanks to THQ, has five, yes five, copies of Capcom's Under the Skin to give away to five lucky readers. All you have to do to enter is go to the Competitions page and follow the instructions. The Competition will close on December 12th at Midnight so you should get your prizes just before Christmas.

December 2, 2004

    Games
    Square-Enix has confirmed sales of Dragon Quest VIII on the first two days have reached 2,167,072 units.

    According to reports Namco has confirmed that Katmai Damacy 2 will be released in Japan and Europe in early 2005! How about the first game guys!

    Hardcore gamers will be pleased to hear that THQ and Ignition have released the classic Neo Geo title Metal Slug 3 on PS2 in Australia. The game has a very generous RRP of only $49.95 (beats the $500-odd dollars the Neo Geo original sells for!)

    Review
    WWE Smackdown Vs Raw potentially the greatest wrestling title of all time. With man new additions, and the inclusion of online gameplay, and wrestling fan will sure lap this game up. Frotunately Brodie is such a fan and he was chomping at the bit to get this title to review. Was he disappointed? Certainly not. Read our exclusive review to get the lowdown on THQ's Smackdown Vs Raw.


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