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DECEMBER 2006 NEWS

December 26-31, 2006

    Special Article
    2006 Futuregamez Awards
    The year is at an end and that means it's time for the Annual Futuregamez Awards. In fact all three parts are online now and we give you everything from the Worst game of 2006, to the Best Peripheral, Best Online and Offline Multi-player, Best in each genre, Best Sound and Graphics on the PSP and PS2 and of course the Overall Game of the Year for 2006. What games did you miss this year?

December 24, 2006

    Christmas Message
    Well, well. The years sure do fly past don't they. It feels like only months ago that I was writing my last Christmas message. Alas, a year has passed and for many it was disappointing for one single reason - the PS3 didn't hit our shores. But we do have good news about the PS3 launch in Australia - so make sure you keep reading.

    2006 was a fantastic year for PS2 and PSP owners though with many stunning games on offer. Don't forget to check back over the next week as we put up the Sixth Annual Futuregamez.net awards.

    We must send some very special Christmas cheer to those that make this site possible - the games companies. These guys make Futuregamez.net what it is with fantastic support all year long. Thanks go to: Activision/Joel Graham & Suddy Bhardwaj, Atari/David Wildgoose, Gillian Nalletamby, and Sabrina Naidu, Electronic Arts/Burchin Ergin & Jamie McKinlay, QV Software/Snezana Stojanovska & Omar Braery, Red Ant/Joseph Donoghue, Leigh White (sorry to see you leave this week!), Malcom Ma, Nichola Bryan, Ivone Bozzi, & Tim Formosa, Sony Australia & related companies/Adrian Christie & Rebecca Rice, Rob Lowe, Anna Donnison, Jon Manning, Annette Vitetta, Nicole Kennedy & Amanda Starr, Take Two Interactive/Leigh Harris & Simon Ramsey, THQ/Drew Taylor, Ben Pollock, Paul Houlihan & Katherine Charles, UbiSoft/Owen Hughes & Chad Acers, and finally Vivendi/Bennett Ring, Jane Flockhart, Sarah Frare, Nick Wong, Chris Davey. There are tonnes of other companies too - but to list them all would take pages.

    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 Ben and Michael - Thanks.

    Finally the readers. Without you the site would be nothing. We look forward to bringing you even more coverage including the Playstation 3 launch (which we will get to in a second) in 2007.

    Merry Christmas,
    David Warner, and the Futuregamez.net team.

    PS3 Australian Launch
    You want it - we've got it. Now this isn't 100% confirmed with a press release, but it's pretty much as good. Sony has just updated thier Australian web site with a sweet new look and plenty of new content - including the Playstation 3. (You can check out the site here). Where this gets interesting though is the game pages. Each of the major titles expected for launch now has a date of March 15, 2007. We're pretty confident that this is the date Sony Australia are currently targeting - if they weren't sure they surely would have just listed "March 2007" as they have in the past. The site also lists both 20GB and 60GB versions, so contrary to rumours we may see both systems at launch, and games such as Heavenly Sword and Warhawk are also listed for launch day. Well, there you have it folks. Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2006

    PS3 News
    Japanese gamers were looking forward to December 24, not because of Santa Clause paying a visit, but rather it was the day that Gran Turismo HD demo was to be released. It still will, but in a fantastic move Sony will be making this release also available to American PS3 owners through the online store (for free).

    Ubisoft has confirmed that Splinter Cell: Double Agent will be headed to the PS3 next March - making it a launch title in Europe. The PS3 version will include new multi-player maps and support for the Sixaxis controller.

    Capcom's Jun Takeuchi has confirmed that Resident Evil 5 will not be available until 2008. It's not all bad news though as the developers are aiming to lock the frame rate in a 60fps, include much more interactivity with the levels, and even hints that the temperature (hot or cold) will affect the gameplay. It's a long wait - but will be worth it we think.

December 22, 2006

    PS3 News
    Well there has been much speculation of late that the PS3 would be delayed beyond March in Europe and Australia - and while we can't dispel those rumours 100% we did get a rather amusing teaser from Sony yesterday - It was a Ultrasound picture of an baby with the words "Due March 2007" and PS3 logos. Needless to say I nearly had a heart attack when my wife gave it to me - but it shows that Sony are still pushing that date and starting the hype machine. Now, if I get my scanner working after re-installing my Operating System the other day I'll scan it in for you to have a look!

    Sega has confirmed that Virtua Fighter 5 will not be a PS3 exclusive, but will also be heading to the XBox 360. The game will not appear on Microsoft's console for several months - a release date of Q'3 2007 has been pegged. At least the PS3 gets it for a couple of months first.

December 20, 2006

    PS2 News
    Electronic Arts has announced Medal of Honor Vanguard will be heading to the Playstation 2 early next year. What makes this interesting is that Medal of Honor: Airborne had previously been announced for all platforms - perhaps the PS2 title will be different to the next-gen versions, and has earned the new title.

    At the recent Jump Festa show in Tokyo Square-Enix, in a lengthy video, hinted that a new Kingdom Hearts game may be in the works. Immediately following a video clip showing Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (the Japanese release of the PAL Kingdom Hearts II) the screen displayed the words "New Project Starting in 2007". Could it be the strongly rumoured Kingdom Hearts III? Time will tell.

    PSP Reviews
    Star Wars: Lethal Alliance is set to bring one of the most successful film and game franchises of all time back to the forefront of minds around the world. While the Star Wars saga may be complete on the silver screen, there's plenty of life in the video games. This title from Ubisoft aims to fill in some details between Episode III and Episode IV. A review.

December 19, 2006

    PS3 News
    Sega has confirmed that Virtua Fighter 5 will released in America on February 20, 2007 and will be a launch title in Europe (and Australia). As we reported a couple of weeks ago the Japanese version will hit their shelves on February 8, 2007.

    Sony has confirmed the downloadable game flOw won't be released in December 2006 as planned but has slipped into January 2007.

    PS2 Reviews
    Rayman Raving Rabbids may have a rather strage and whacky name - but it turns out that suits the game perfectly. This isn't a platform title, but rather a series of mini-games. We didn't expect much but were suprised with the result. This is an entertaining, and quite amusing, title.

December 18, 2006

    PS3 News
    The week of December 4-10 has seen an additional 50,171 PS3 systems sold in Japan bringing the total to 237,967. Given Sony's CEO Ryoji Chubachi has only just stated (in the last couple of days) that they expect to sell 2 million units by the end of the year they have a hell of a lot of work to do. Still, the PS3 number is well ahead of the 145,846 units for XBox 260 - during the entire year!

    PSP Reviews
    Formula One 06 is a game for fans of the sport. Schumacher may have retired this year, but there's one way to relive Formula One thrills - pick up this game. It's not perfect, but racing fans will have some fun. Here's Michael's full review.

    Capcom Classics Collection Remixed is a retro package for the PSP. We love retro packages here at Futuregamez.net, they have a great way of showing just how far games have progressed over the years. This PSP compilation is no exception. Here's our thoughts.

December 17, 2006

    Site News
    As some of you may have noticed I have recently (over the last 24 hours) added watermarks to larger images on the site. Unfortunately this has become necessary due to the number of other web sites and people linking directly to my site without credit and 'stealing' the images to reduce their own server storage. At last count there were over 1000 web sites, blogs and forums linking in. What this means is increased traffic to Futuregamez.net but also inaccurate information on the web. I found one particular site linking to an image from Ridge Racer V on PS2, and stating it was an image from Ridge Racer 7 on PS3 thus providing incorrect information. At least if people see Futuregamez.net listed they can go to the original source of the image and check the information.

    The second benefit is that by reducing this 'theft' the sites speed should increase due to reduced downloads. That's not to say I don't want people to use the images, it's fine for people in a discussion forum etc, but this way we are now receiving 'credit' for the image being used. Of course we aren't claiming copyright to these images, they are held by their respective companies, we are only watermarking to confirm they are stored on Futuregamez.net.

    If you have any comments of complaints about the matter feel free to direct them to me at admin@futuregamez.net. Oh, you can see a sample of the watermark on here from Sega's Virtua Tennis 3. Small images in previews and reviews will not be watermarked.

December 16, 2006

    PS3 News
    Actress Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) has confirmed that she has been providing voiceovers for Assassin's Creed. What she did also let slip was potentially the 'key secret' to the game which Ubisoft have been keeping very secret about since the titles unveiling. Needless to say we won't post the secret here, and we have to say that it was horrendous of IGN to spoil the game for millions of gamers (they could have kept it quiet!). Trust me, you'll want to keep this a secret.

    While Sony is still denying it apparently some "sources" have been coming forward stating that the Playstation 3 will be delayed in Europe until September 2007. We certainly hope this doesn't turn out to be true, and Sony are still denying it, but then again Sony were denying the November to March delay until October as well!!

    Sony has released a new update for the Playstation 3's software which has increased compatibility for Playstation 2 titles - the key change being that Japanese and American gamers can now play titles which required the Hard Drive (such as Final Fantasy XI and the SOCOM Map Pack).

    PSP Reviews
    GTA: Vice City Stories should need no introduction - but here it is. Another year and another Grand Theft Auto title from Rockstar - this time on PSP again. Is this just more of the same, or a big advancement for the series? Well it's really a little of both. We give you all the details in our full review.

December 13, 2006

    PS3 News
    Sega has provided a few more details on their Alien based titles. Firstly the First Person Shooter is being developed by Gearbox (Brothers in Arms) while the RPG game is being developed by Obsidian (Neverwinter Nights 2). The bummer though is that the first title (we presume the FPS) won't be available until 2009!

    PS2 Reviews
    Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a comic book fans dream. Last year Raven Software brought us the superb X-Men Legends II, this year they're covering the entire Marvel universe. This is a fantastic action title deserving attention. Check out the review now - do it!

December 12, 2006

    PS3 News
    According to 1Up Virtua Fighter 5 will be released in Japan on February 8 2007. This makes the game a likely candidate for a launch title in Europe and Australia in March - time will tell.

    PS2 Reviews
    Splinter Cell: Double Agent is a bit of a risk for Ubisoft. Sam Fisher is back in a new game - but whose side is he really on? This game turns the series on its head as Sam works for the enemy. Here's our review of this stunning title.

December 11, 2006

    PS3 News
    Well this is potentially big news. According to this article on the Hollywood Reporter Sega has secured the rights to develop games based on the Alien movies. The company is currently developing a first-person shooter and a role-playing game for next-generation consoles and PC with the first title due out in 2008. Impressively the games will not follow the plots of the movies, but new storylines. The company is also interested in obtaining the services of Sigourney Weaver and Lance Henriksen to reprise their roles in the games. This deal does not give Sega the rights to develop games based on Fox's current Alien Vs Predator movies (yes folks, the sequel is coming soon!).

    A couple of days ago we confirmed that Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection would be available on the Playstation Store to be played on the PS3 at a glorious 1088p (1920 x 1080) resolution. Well we can now confirm that the downloadable game will weigh in at a rather hefty 800MB! Hope you have some pretty fast broadband. The game will be release in Japan on January 18, 2007.

    PSP Reviews
    Gitaroo Man Lives! isn't a mainstream title. In fact I sent it to Michael to review and he'd never ever seen the PS2 original in action, nor read up on this PSP version. What he discovered was one of the most enjoyable - and difficult - PSP titles on the market today. Should you consider this cheap release? Of course, but you can check out his full review for the details.

December 10, 2006

    PS2 Reviews
    Call of Duty 3 could very well be the last release in Activision's premier FPS series on current-gen systems. In the last couple of years Activision have created a brilliant series with their Call of Duty games and the company will be hoping their latest will generate big sales this Christmas. We tell you if it's worth it.

December 9, 2006

    PS3 Previews
    Virtua Tennis 3 is one of the most anticipated next-gen titles heading to the Playstation 3 in early 2007 - and it looks like being a launch title in Europe and Australia. While we previewed the game back in June Sega keep pumping out more information and new screenshots, with the game looking look better all the time. Here's an updated look.

    PS3 News
    Ubisoft has confirmed the release date for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 has been pushed back slightly until Q'2 2007 - the game was expected in Q'1.

    Sony has managed to ship another 31,436 Playstation 3 units in Japan in the week of November 27 - December 3. This brings the total shipments to 187,796 units. While not earth shattering numbers, it's nice to see the company feeding more units to stores on a weekly basis.

December 7, 2006

    PS3 News
    Adding even more weight to the belief of a March 1 release for the Playstation 3 in Australia Topshop has listed a couple more games. First up Sonic the Hedgehog is now listed for release on February 28th. That's the third game due for release on that date, with Electronic Arts listing three titles for March 1st.

    Sony has confirmed the three more games will be made available through the Playstation Store from tomorrow - well it's more like two games and a demo. Lemmings 2, Go! Sodoku 2 and a playable demo of Genji: Days of the Blade will be available. Lemmings 2 will cost $US5.99, include 40 levels and 1080p support with the download coming in at 270MB. Go! Sudoku 2 will be free for the first Level, with others costing $US2.99 (for Easy, Mild, Difficult, and Fiendish). The download will come in at 86MB for the first batch of levels. The Genji demo is free and will weigh in at 593MB.

    PS3 Previews
    Virtua Fighter 5 is a game which may shift millions of Playstation 3 systems. Think the Playstation 3 is lacking original titles as well? Well this offering from Sega looks like being one of the best fighting games of all time. This is an absolute stunner. We have details and the latest stunning screens for you to check out.

December 6, 2006

    Industry News
    Do you know what day it is? Well, in a little over an hour gamers around Australia will be able to purchase the Nintendo Wii. The system will sell for $AU399 - a few dollars more then American and Japanese gamers given the exchange rate. This will leave the Playstation 3 the last in the next-generation to be released next March.

    PS3 News
    According to Insomniac's lead multiplayer programmer Eric Ellis the company is currently working on a patch for Resistance: Fall of Man. While few details are confirmed the patch will balance the game a bit more and worked on some strategic and team based tactics. As yet Insomniac haven't confirmed if the PAL version of the game will be patched prior to release, or a release date for the US/Japanese market.

    According to Japanese magazine Famitsu Weekly the Sony Playstation downloadable service is set to be given a big kick along with Bandai Namco developing Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection for the service. The game will run at 1080p and include several upgrades over the arcade game. As yet a release date and price have not been announced. BTW you can check out the review of the PSP version here.

    David Jaffe has, in a rather drunken video interview, confirmed that he has just started planning God of War 3 - possibly for the Playstation 3. As yet the game has not been greenlit by Sony (but we feel that would be like Sony turning down another Gran Tursimo!), but it's good news for fans of Kratos. God of War 2 will be released in early 2007 on PS2.

    Factor 5, who are currently working on the very gorgeous looking Lair on the Playstation 3 has confirmed they have been licensed to develop two downloadble games on the system. No word yet on titles or release dates.

    PS2 Reviews
    WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 is a game which thousands of Australians are already playing since its release a couple of weeks ago. To be honest wrestling isn't something we care to much about here at Futuregamez.net, but the games can be fun. We take THQ's latest for a spin, and give you our thoughts.

December 5, 2006

    PS2 Reviews
    AND 1 Streetball probably won't have a big following in Australia - which is somewhat fortunate really. Ubisoft delayed this Black Ops developed title for some time, and there's a pretty good reason why. To be blunt, the game is pretty shit. Here's Michael's full review if you care to check it out.

December 4, 2006

    PSP News
    Atari has confirmed that V8 Supercars 3 Full Throttle on PSP has been delayed from December 15 until February 2nd 2007.

    Activision has confirmed that Capcom Puzzle World has been delayed from February 21st to March 14th 2007.

    Industry News
    As many of you would be aware the Nintendo Wii will launch in Australia on December 7th (yes, this Thursday). According to Nintendo of Australia spokesperson Vispi Bhopti the system has received over 30,000 pre-orders to date.

    PSP Previews
    After Burner: Black Falcon was only recently announced. Sega are returning with another update to one of their classic series', although development isn't happening in-house. Still, this game looks like being a stunner for the PSP next year. We bring you the first details, and the first stunning screenshots.

December 2, 2006

    PS3 News
    Gran Turismo HD is no more. Polyphony Digital has confirmed the title will not be released - at least as a retail game. The good news though is that the game will be released as a free downloadable demo in Japan from December 24 (with a release outside this territory still TBD). The demo version will consist of ten cars and two courses (possibly on a single track). Polyphony Digital has confirmed they are moving all their development efforts to Gran Turismo 5 which is expected in 2008.

    Sega and Pseudo Interactive have announced that Full Auto 2: Battlelines has gone gold and will hit shelves around December 7 in America - almost a week earlier then expected. The game is expected to be a launch title in PAL territories next March.

    According to EA's Larry Probst Sony only managed to release 200,000 Playstation 3's in America for launch on November 11 and expects Sony to ship 500,000 to 800,000 units in America by the end of the year. The system was, as we all know, a complete sell out, however Sony are replenishing stock on a weekly basis.

    Square-Enix has confirmed they will be releasing a new trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII in Japan on December 8. Going to be something to watch out for no doubt.

    Sony has confirmed that the downloadable game flOw will be made available through the Playstation Store from December 18. The developers behind that game, thatgamecompany, have been signed on to develop two more titles for Sony.

    From Software have confirmed they will release the Japanese version of Enchant Arm for the PS3 on January 25, 2007 in Japan. The game is a port of the XBox 360 title but will include several upgrades. Sony Japan has shipped another 32,622 Playstation 3 units from November 20-26. Total shipments in the territory have now reached 156,360 units.

    Namco Bandai president Takeo Takasu has confirmed that Playstation 3 titles must sell at least 500,000 units before they will turn a profit due to development costs. That's a pretty tough ask with only around 400,000 units in stores to date!

    PS2 Reviews
    Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence isn't an entirely new game, but is an old game with a massive suite of additional content. This repackaged game includes a 210 minute movie, online gameplay, new camera and more highlight this stunning package. Check out our review now.


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