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DECEMBER 2005 NEWS

December 31, 2005

    2005 Futuregamez.net Awards
    2005 Futuregamez.net Awards Part 3 is it. The big one. The one where we tell you about the best games you forgot to buy, the best new technology or game engine, the best cut scenes, the best sound in a game on PS2 and PSP, the best graphics on PS2 and PSP and then select the Game of the Year for 2005. You don't want to miss this.

December 29, 2005

    Games News
    Just a minor update to let you know I've updated the very impressive looking Black with new screens and information. This game is going to be a blast this February.

December 28, 2005

    2005 Futuregamez.net Awards
    2005 Futuregamez.net Awards Part 2 is (obviously) the second part of the awards for 2005. In this section we look at the various game genres such as Fighting, Sports, Adventure, Puzzle, Racing and let you know which games were the best on either the PS2 or PSP. Expect the third, and final, section soon including the Game of the Year.

    Games News
    Just a quick one to let you know we've done quite a hefty update to the PSP Previews & Release Schedule Page. Bear in mind though that many companies won't set dates for early next year until they return to work after the Christmas/New Year break so expect some more changes in a few weeks. We'll keep you informed.

December 25, 2005

    2005 Futuregamez.net Awards
    2005 Futuregamez.net Awards Part 1 is the first of three sections to our yearly awards. Here we look at the biggest surprises of 2005, the biggest disappointments, best distributer, publisher and developer, the worst game, best multi-player games and much more. If you want to know what to buy, or what to avoid, check this out. Look for the following two parts before New Years. Oh, Merry Christmas too!

December 23, 2005

    Christmas Message
    And another Christmas sails right by. It's amazing to think that a year ago today I was packing my bags to head off on the best holiday of my life (for those of you that don't recall I was on a cruise around New Zealand on the Sapphire Princess). No holiday for me this year, though having just started a new job. I guess that's good for you as Futuregamez.net will still be updated, albeit with little news expected over this period. 2005 has been a killer year for the PS2 and with the system dominating the charts. It's fair to say that 2005 was easily the best year for games in Australia - as you'll see in the upcoming Awards.

    As is the case every year running Futuregamez.net isn't possible without the fantastic support from all the companies, and the fantastic staff I deal with (or should that be annoy) on a regular basis. Thanks go to: Activision/Joel Graham & Suddy Bhardwaj, Atari/Chris Eade, David Wildgoose, Maria Deevoy, Mariana Cidade & Vanessa Alexander, Electronic Arts/Burchin Ergin & Jamie McKinlay, HES Interactive/David Robles, QV Software/Snezana Stojanovska, Red Ant/Annette Vitetta, Ivone Bozzi, Malcom Ma, Nichola Bryan & Tim Formosa, Sony Australia & related companies/Adrian Christie, Amelia Francis, Annette Vitetta, Amanda Starr, Dominic Hilton-Foster, Marie Najjar, Matthew Manners & Richard Baker (There are so many of you I'm sorry to whoever I missed!), Take Two Interactive/Leigh Harris & Simon Ramsey, THQ/Ben Pollock & Katherine Charles, UbiSoft/Owen Hughes, and finally Vivendi/Bennett Ring, Chris Davey, Colin Brown & Sarah Frare.

    There are two other very special groups of people to thank. The first are the reviewers who don't get paid for what they do, but take time out to play games, sometimes good, sometimes bad, in order to contribute to the site so to Chris, Graham, and Ben - Thanks.

    Finally we come to the most important people to thank and wish a great Christmas - the readers. Thank you and we look forward to offering you even more in 2006.

    Merry Christmas,
    David Warner, Chris Gobbett, Graham Darko and Ben Gourlay.

December 22, 2005

    Games News
    Well it now seems confirmed that Electronic Arts have canned their next generation versions of Casino Royale and will instead concentrate on current generation versions. Given that the movie is expected by next Christmas the timeline to complete the next-gen versions were probably too tight. Easy come, easy go.

    Vivendi has announced plans to release a game based on the upcoming movie Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. The movie is expected to be released in March 2006 (in America at least) and the PS2 game will be released around the same time.

    PS2 Reviews
    Genji may have a strange name but from the creator of Onimusha and Resident Evil this is a game to take notice of. Graham gives us his opinion on the game and general impression is very positive. Check out our last pre-Christmas review (probably).

December 21, 2005

    Games News
    Village Roadshow have today informed us that both Blade and Blade Trinity have "packaging errors" and that neither PSP movie actually has the announced (and listed on packaging) bonus features. That means that Blade doesn't have the audio commentary with Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff and the filmmakers while Blade Trinity is missing the audio commentary with Writer-Director-Producer David Goyer, Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Beil. Considering that Village Roadshow trumpeted these features in October when the discs were announced we feel it was more of a mastering error then packaging. Both movies are going to be repackaged and re-distributed soon. Note that Blade II apparently still includes the deleted scenes. What a monumental stuff up by Village Roadshow, and a bad way to enter the PSP movie market. Even without the extras the discs are great value with a RRP of $AU24.95.

    PS2 Reviews
    Gun is a fascinating title for a number of reasons. Primarily due to the fact that the developers are Neversoft who develop the Tony Hawk titles, but also due to a lack of wild west titles on the system. Although we're running close to Christmas we figured we would offer you a great last minute Christmas idea. This is a fantastic title which deserves your attention. Here's Graham's review.

December 20, 2005

    Games News
    Hideo Kojima has confirmed that at this stage there are no plans to produce a sequel to his hit PS2 series Zone of Enders.

    PSP Movie Reviews
    PSP Movies Lot #4. Are you still looking for a Christmas gift for someone that has just got a PSP, but you can't afford $80 for a game. Well Twentieth Century Fox are offering a new batch of PSP movies and about half that price. In this batch of reviews we look at Fantastic Four, Kingdom of Heaven, Robots and The Day After Tomorrow. In short each movie, like most releases to date, are very impressive.

December 18, 2005

    Games News
    According to reports Electronic Arts' first James Bond title will be Casino Royale which will be based on the upcoming movie (which is a remake of an earlier movie) starring newly appointed Daniel Craig as the legendary British spy. Interestingly the title is aimed at next generation platforms, and not current generation. It is also believed that the game will retain a third person perspective. Big ups to mi6.co.uk for the info. Surprisingly the site also states that with the game currently at 15% complete production is being considered for a number of factors. The first is the tight timeline with only 12 months remaining to complete the game and the second being licensing issues with the James Bond owners.

    PSP Reviews
    Gripshift is an exclusive PSP title, and a damn fine one too. Developed by Sidhe in New Zealand this is more of a puzzle game then a racing title as you race against the clock, collecting items, navigating tight turns and occasionally have to beat other racers. This is quite a unique, and exciting game. Check out our review now!

December 17, 2005

    PSP Reviews
    X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse is available now on PSP, and if you're either a comic book fan or action/RPG fan then this is the game for you. We've already reviewed the PS2 version a couple of weeks ago and we can tell you now that this PSP version of X-Men Legends II is equally spectacular and even comes with some extra frills. Here's our full review.

    Go! Sudoku may not be a game that is instantly recognisable, but for some people this will be a big title. This classic numbers puzzle game is now on PSP and with around 1000 puzzles to complete this game will keep you going forever. A fantastic title at a budget price.

December 16, 2005

    Games News
    THQ has confirmed that Psychonauts will not be released in December but has sadly been pushed back until February. This is one of the most amusing games of all time and the delay is most disappointing. Keep an eye out for this one folks.

    Midway has confirmed that NBA Ballers: Phenom is currently in development for PS2 while the company is also developing NBA Ballers: Rebound for PSP. Both game should be released in Q'2 2006. We don't know too much about the games but one thing is certain, they won't be in development at Midway's Australian development studio after shutting them down (read yesterday's news). Once again, boo Midway!

December 15, 2005

    Games News
    The Australian games industry is one which is still small but Ratbag were one of our best developers. Proof of their standing in the games community occurred in August when Midway bought the company for around $US6 million. In a stunning move however Midway last week sent over their Vice President of Worldwide Studios to read a note to Ratbag staff stating that Midway were slamming the door shut on the development team. As a result 50 people are looknig for work and one of Australia's most loved developers is now gone thanks to corporate greed. Boo Midway!

    PSP Movie Reviews
    PSP Movies Lot #3. Are you stuck for ideas for Christmas gifts? Can't afford that $100 game that little Johnny wants? Well how about a movie for his (or her) PSP? Today we review four of Fox's biggest titles including Alien, Alien Vs Predator, I Robot and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

December 14, 2005

    Games News
    Ubisoft have announced that their next Splinter Cell game will be called Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent. In the game Sam Fisher must infiltrate a terrorist organization in order to stop an attack on America. The game is currently expected to be released in Q'2 2006 for all major platforms including PS2.

    Now this is concerning news if your a Microsoft/XBox fan (and probably funny if you're a Sony/Playstation one!) but the XBox 360 launch has been rather dismal in Japan. According to Media Create in the first two days only 28% of systems have managed to sell at launch, or around 41,817 units - leaving a whopping 107,000 odd units unsold! What may be more concerning for Bill & Co is the news that the systems price is also being slashed from 38,800 yen to 18,800 yen for people also subscribing to an Internet provider. No doubt the launch was dampened by the delay of the biggest title Dead or Alive 4. Then again perhaps gamers are waiting for a real next generation machine...

    PS2 Reviews
    Shrek Superslam. The equation really is quite simple. If you have kids that like the Shrek movies then this game will likely entertain them - for a long time. This melee title is great fun, and looks great too although seasoned gamers may find it a bit easy. Here's our full review.

December 13, 2005

    Games News
    According to Sony's COO Jack Tretton both Lair from Factor 5 and Warhawk from SCEA are both currently scheduled to be launch titles with the PS3 with the latter game already in playable form.

    Capcom's Keiji Inafune has mentioned that the company is hoping to release Resident Evil 5 simultaneously on next generation platforms (presumably XBox 360 and PS3). He also mentioned that the game will have online elements, but failed to elaborate.

    PS2 Reviews
    The Matrix: Path of Neo is Shiny's second attempt at a Matrix title on PS2. The first Matrix game, Enter the Matrix was bitterly disappointing. With several more years of development this second game promises to deliver, but does it? We let you know in our exclusive review.

December 12, 2005

    Games News
    Sony Australia has confirmed dates for some highly anticipated games. On the PSP front many gamers will be pleased to hear that Lemmings will be hitting the console on March 2nd while SOCOM: Fire Team Bravo will be hitting the PSP on March 16th. Sadly there is no word on SOCOM III for PS2 yet, but we expect it around March/April as well. Sony have confirmed two games for PS2 and they're big ones. The first is Namco's Urban Reign on February 9th while the most exciting one is Shadow of the Colossus which is schedule for February 16th.

    Square-Enix has announced that they are porting the 1999 PlayStation RPG Valkyrie Profile (Which will be renamed to Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth to the PSP for release in Japan on March 2nd. The Playstation 2 will be getting a new game in the series called Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria. As yet the PS2 game only has a 2006 release date and there has been no confirmation of release outside Japan.

    MTV Films has picked up the rights to make a movie based on Atari's upcoming game Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure (damn that's a stupidly long name!). While the game is due out in February the movie is only in very early stages of development and will be a fair way away still.

    PS2 Reviews
    Ratchet Gladiator is on the shelves already. As many of you would know Ratchet is back for his fourth outing on PS2 and yet again the game moves away from platforming and towards more action. In fact, this is all out action, but is it a step in the right direction? Here's Graham's review.

December 11, 2005

    PSP Reviews
    Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is a game comes with two important things that you should know. This game is a) in no way inferior and b) in no way a copy of the storylines found in the PS2 games. This is an essential purchase if ever there was one and a great killer app for the PSP this Christmas. Here's our full and exclusive review...

    Games News
    Sony has confirmed that the Playstation 3 is still on target for release (in Japan at least) in Q'2 next year. The company had been very quiet of late regarding the release date with speculation the system wouldn't make it out as expected.

    Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has announced that The Getaway: Gangs of London will be released on PSP in 2006. As yet no details about the game have been released.

    Buena Vista has finally announced they will be entering the PSP UMD Movie market this coming February with 7 titles on offer. The movies include Armageddon, Gone In 60 Seconds - Director's Cut, Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Kill Bill - Volume 1, Kill Bill - Volume 2, and National Treasure. As yet there isn't a fixed date or price. As a side note we have updated our PSP UMD Movie Release Schedule Page so make sure you check it out.

December 10, 2005

    Special PSP Offer
    Well Sony Australia are feeling very cheery and have just announced that they are going to give away a free game with every purchase of a PSP from now until December 31st. Not only will gamers get the value pack for $399.95 but will also be able to choose from most of Sony's titles released on the system so far such as Wipeout Pure and Ridge Racer to name a few (as well as a couple of upcoming games). Just be wary as some retailers I visited today still had not been made aware of this deal, but it should be in all major stores very soon.

    Games News
    Sega has confirmed they are developing OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast for PS2, PSP and PC (but not a mention of XBox!) for release in March 2006. The game will include 30 stages in total and promise new mission structure, a license mode, the return of 6-player online racing, and a total of 12 licensed Ferraris including the F430 and Superamerica. The game is currently in development at Sumo Digital which makes its non XBox listing more interesting considering they were behind the impressive XBox game last year.

    Ubisoft have announced two new games are in development for the PSP. The first is Splinter Cell Essentials which is apparently a prequel to the first game in the series. The second game is Brothers in Arms their World War II tactical game. Both are still shrouded in secrecy but are due out in early 2006.

    Rumours are circulating, apparently from reliable sources, that the Revolution, Nintendo's next console, will only be about 2.5 times more powerful then the Gamecube putting the system well behind the XBox 360 and PS3 in terms of power. Nintendo are focusing on gameplay and the innovative new controller rather then providing the highest specs.

    PS2 Reviews
    Call of Duty: Big Red One may have seen the series change developers since the first title, but if you're after a World War II shooter on PS2 then this game may hold your interest. In fact, we're pretty certain it will. Activision has produced a very solid sequel to last year’s monster hit. Here's a review.

December 8, 2005

    Games News
    Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that they have acquired Guerrilla Games, developers of Killzone on PS2 which sold an impressive 2 million units. The company has already shown the jaw droppingly stunning Killzone on PS3 but has also confirmed a PSP title is in development.

    Well we don't even have a release date yet but Sony Australia have just put SOCOM: Fire Team Bravo past the OFLC with a MA15+ rating awarded to the game. We expect the game to be released around February, but are awaiting confirmation from Sony.

    PS2 Reviews
    The Warriors is a game which many people have had an interest in for some time knowing that it's coming from Rockstar, the company behind a certain GTA series. This game is based on a 1970's movie, but it's a damn near perfect setting for a game which sees you play a gang called The Warriors as they are hunted by dozens of other gangs. Graham loved this game, and I don't disagree. It's exciting, brutal and fun and is exactly what a movie tie-in should be.

December 7, 2005

    Games News
    Electronic Arts has confirmed that they are currently developing Rugby 06 and will contain the Six Nations, Lions Tour, Tri Nations, Guinness Premiership and the Super 14. As yet there is no release date for the game.

    As many of you know the quite superb looking Rugby League 2 launches tomorrow (Thursday 8th) and publishers Tru Blue Entertainment have set up some of the real stars to appear at selected stores to sign copies of the game. The details are as follows:

      EB Games Miranda, Westfield Shoppingtown Miranda - Sharks players Ben Ross, Greg Bird, Phil Leuluai and Paul Gallen will lend their support at the game’s launch, appearing instore between 10AM and 11AM to sign copies of the game
      Gamesmen Penshurst, 491 Forest Rd Penshurst - Bulldogs superstars Sonny Bill Williams and Hazem El Masri will be instore between 10AM and 11AM
      EB Games Macarthur, Macarthur Square Shopping Centre - NRL Premiers Wests Tigers will be taking on challengers in a game of RL2, with John Skandalis, Bryce Gibbs, Anthony Laffrankie and Dene Halatau appearing in store from 3PM to 4PM
      Gamesmen Penrith, Westfield Shoppingtown Penrith - Panthers Luke Lewis, Luke Rooney and Joshua Bateman will be appearing instore between 10AM and 11AM

    Did you see the PS3 game Motorstorm at the recent E3 show (or at least videos of it). You know the one with the cars racing on dirt tracks and crashing and flipping everywhere. Of course you did. Well many believed that Evolution Studios were using pre-rendered videos, but in fact the developers have now confirmed that the game was running on Playstation 3 Alpha Development Kits. The build was running on an Nvidia 6800 in SLI mode with a slower Cell Processor then what will be in the final system. Sensational eh.

    PS2 Reviews
    WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2006 is a game which wrestling fans would probably know is already out - many of you already have it if sales charts are anything to go by. THQ have just released their latest wrestling title on PS2 and it's a knockout. This title ups the anté in every area is an essential purchase for wrestling fans.

December 5, 2005

    Games News
    Sony has confirmed that they have shipped 100 million PS2's around the world as at November 29th. This is a remarkable achievement and yet again demonstrates how far ahead the PS2 is around the world. The breakdown is as follows; North America 40.65 million units, Europe 37.14 million units and Japan 22.22 million units. The PS2 currently has over 6,200 different titles release around the globe!

    Sega has confirmed that Sonic Riders will be released in Japan in February 2006. We can only hope it's better then the dire Shadow the Hedgehog which we are struggling through at the moment. Needless to say there's a lot better out there then this game!

    PS2 Reviews
    Scooby Doo! Unmasked is the third game in THQ's Scooby Doo brand and there have been some changes including cel-shaded graphics. Is this game worth your time? Well it's probably one aimed at the younger audience and on that level it succeeds - somewhat. Here's our full review.

    PSP Reviews
    WRC: FIA World Rally Championship sees the hit PS2 racing game ported over to the PSP. With the official FIA license the game includes real drivers, cars and locations, but does that ensure a great title? Read our full review to find out now.

December 4, 2005

    Games News
    As many readers will know we recently reviewed Peter Jackson's King Kong from Ubisoft in which were commented that we weren't sure if the game used the final music for the movie given that it was probably still being written. To our ears the music in the game was certainly good enough to be used in the movie but apparently the game uses an original orchestral score created by Chance Thomas from HUGEsound. Apologies must go out to Chance and the orchestra, but I guess it's a sign of real quality when I thought the music was from the movie!

    In case you had given up hope we can assure you that Australia has finally seen the release of GTA: Liberty City Stories last Friday. We checked out some shops over the weekend and while we found a few copies it appeared that many stores are already running out of stock - and why wouldn't they, the game is sensational - so get in quick.

    Competition Winners
    Well congratulations to our competition winners. The 10 winners of Conflict Global Storm are... Ahmed Saddick, Sim James, Jessica Dykes, Daniel Orr, Mark Milton, Tim Chris, Tina Munoz, Randal Doddy, Tim Phan, Annabel Richards. Your prizes have been sent out and should be in your letterbox later this week. Congratulations.

December 1, 2005

    Games News
    THQ has confirmed that they will be releasing MX vs. ATV Unleashed: On the Edge on PSP in early 2006. As with previous titles the game is being developed at Rainbow Studios and promises to allow gamers to race with a collection of new vehicles and chose between new tracks, challenges and mini-games.

    PS2 Reviews
    Soul Calibur 3 is one of Sony, and Namco's, big Christmas 2005 releases on Playstation 2. There is little dispute that the previous game was certainly among, if not the, best weapons based fighting game of all time. In this review we let you know how well this PS2 exclusive sequel stacks up.


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