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DECEMBER 2007 NEWS

January 1, 2008

    2007 Futuregamez Awards Part 3
    2007 Futuregamez Awards Part 3 is the final part of the awards. Here we give you the best graphics and sound for each platform (PS2, PS3 and PSP) and then the big one; the Game of the Year 2007. Can you pick the winner? Will we surprise you? Make sure you let us know what you think!

December 31, 2007

    2007 Futuregamez Awards Part 2
    2007 Futuregamez Awards Part 2 see the continuation of our awards, and this time we look at the best games in each of the major categories including music, strategy, RPG, action, shooter and so on. There may be a few surprises you weren't expecting here so make sure you check out the second part of our awards now.

December 29, 2007

    2007 Futuregamez Awards Part 1
    2007 Futuregamez Awards Part 1 is the first part (of three) of the awards this year. In this first part we look at the biggest surprises and disappointments of 2007, best Blu-Ray discs in terms of video, audio, extras and overall, best multi-player games, arcade ports, peripherals and companies of 2007.

December 27, 2007

    Movie News
    Last night, and a couple of hours after checking out AVP2 I managed to head off to a screening of National Treasure 2, and it was a much more enjoyable affair. Sure the plot is a little thin, and there are less 'clue' solving elements, but it is certainly an entertaining movie and I recommend that if you liked the first you also check this one out.

    Blu-Ray Review
    The Simpsons Movie was a hit at the cinemas this year and Fox have brought the movie to the small screen as a Blu-Ray release. The video and audio quality certainly is impressive - in fact the video is reference quality - but the extras are a bit light on. Importantly the movie was both humourous and heart felt so fans will want to check out this disc.

December 26, 2007

    PS3 News
    We've heard some rumours that there was something amiss with Haze from developers Free Radical Design. Originally planned for a pre-Christmas launch Ubisoft announced only a week before release that the game would be out in 2008 instead. Now it seems that the wait may be quite a bit longer with Ubi Store now listing the PS3 version for release in August 2008.

    Movie News
    Well I checked out AVP2 in the cinemas this afternoon and, well, it was a bit of a disappointment. I'm sure that the movie has, yet again, been edited to get the MA15+ rating here (or at least in other territories, and then brough over here). There still isn't enough gore. The actors, and characters they portrayed, were about as exciting as a dried up pen. Even the ending was so, ermm, old. Sure, I've seen worse, but this still isn't the movie that the two franchises deserve. If anything it's even worse then the original AVP!

December 24, 2007

    Christmas Message
    Wow. What a year 2007 has been. In terms of the site nothing was bigger then the Playstation 3's launch in March, and while the games took a while to come out after the inital launch this Christmas has been a great one with several quality titles showing the power of the system. The PSP and PS2 are still around and kicking too with some brilliant titles released during the year. One can only hope that 2008 is even bigger and better - and with developers getting to grips with the PS3's architecture we are certain it will be.

    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: 2K Games/Snezana Stojanovska, Activision/Joel Graham, Maria Raco, Erin Falconer and Suddy Bhardwaj, Atari/Rebecca Charalambous and Gillian Nalletamby, Electronic Arts/Burchin Ergin, Jamie McKinlay and Cameron Jenkins, Funtastic/Paul Kancachian, QV Software/Omar Braery, Red Ant/Joseph Donoghue, Tory Cefai, Malcom Ma, & David Kozicki, Sega/Vispi Bhopti, Sony Australia & related companies/Adrian Christie & Rebecca Rice, Rob Lowe, Anna Donnison, Andres Lopez-Varela, Jon Manning, & Nicole Kennedy, Take Two Interactive/Leigh Harris & Simon Ramsey, THQ/Drew Taylor, Paul Houlihan & Spencer Sherman, UbiSoft/Owen Hughes & Chad Acers, Vivendi/Arbie Artinian, Jane Flockhart, Nick O'Shea, Sarah Frare, Chris Davey & Nick Wong, and finally Warner Brothers Games/Mark Aubrey. If I missed you, I do apologies, but that's a lot of people.

    I would also very much like to thank all the film studios and distributers in Australia for their support in launching Blu-Ray reviews. In particular Sony Pictures and Zing, Fox, Village Roadshow, Buena Vista, Paramount (well, until someone handed you the money to go to HD-DVD, a bad move from our point of view!), and Universal (who will hopefully see the light in 2008 and start releasing Blu-Ray movies too!). Blu-Ray is a format we back 100% here at Futuregamez.net and we hope it will soon dominate and end this silly High-Def format war by the next Christmas message.

    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 - Thanks.

    Finally to the readers. Without you the site would be nothing. We pride ourselves on bringing you the best of Australian gaming news, and also news from around the world. Your imput is valued. If there is something which you want to see (such as more embedded video clips as many of you have e-mailed about) then let us know. Thank you for your support this year too.

    Merry Christmas,

    David Warner, and the Futuregamez.net team.

December 22, 2007

    PS3 Review
    NHL 2K8 won't be a big seller in Australia, but if you're after a great sports title then this may be for you. Indeed while Ice Hockey may not be the biggest sport in Australia - probably not even in the top 50 - it makes a great video game as Michael found out. Here's his review.

December 20, 2007

    PS3 News
    Well it seems there was another big undocumented feature in Firmware 2.10 on the Playstation 3. It has been revealed that PSP owners can now Remote Play any PSOne game in the PS3 on their PSP unit. Sure there are a couple of missing buttons, but most games will work, and apparently you can remap the buttons. I'll be playing with this over the Christmas break - a break from work, not the site - but it's time for you to check it out as well.

    If you're like us and love SingStar on the PS3 then you would have also been eagerly anticipating more tracks being added to SingStore. Well wait no longer as Sony have added 21 more tracks for $AU2.45 each. The only problem is, most of them are crap. C'mon Sony get your shit into gear. I mean how the hell do you have Wolfmother's Woman as the intro song to the game and not even have it in the SingStore let alone on the disc!

    According to reports, and we haven't checked this for ourselves yet, Infinity Ward have released patch 1.10 for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The patch will fix connection issues, ranking issues, weapons and game balancing. Expect us to be spending a lot of our Christmas/New Years break playing the game so keep an eye out for "Futuregamez".

    PS3 Review
    TimeShift was actually due out in late 2006, but after a poor reception to the XBox 360 demo Sierra gave the developers another year to make changes - and they basically redid the entire game graphically! Still, if there is one genre that has been plentiful of late it's the FPS. This game from Sierra brings with it a new twist with the ability to stop, slow and rewind time! A review.

    PSP Review
    Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions may have a great big name, but that goes with the great big game. Michael has played through the game and was impresed. Here's his review...

December 19, 2007

    PS3 News
    Well there seems to be a rather impressive new feature of Firmware 2.10 which wasn't documented by Sony - that being a new them when you're playing music. By pressing the Square button you will come across a new background which shows various scenes of planet Earth from space. It's ultra cool. On a not so nice note for Homebrew developers it seems Firmware 2.10 may have disable access to the RSX chip.

    According to Japanese sources first day sales of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue have surpassed 50,000 units. Given that Famitsu gave the title 39/40 we expect it to have pretty long legs in sales. Still no word from Sony on the Australian release date.

    There's no confirmation, or even mention, of the game coming to the PS3 yet - actually we'd be happy for it to come out anywhere, but apparently at 12.00 midday CST in America 3D Realms will release a teaser trailer for Duke Nukem Forever. It has been over 6 years since the last trailer with the game in development for over 10 years now! Will it ever come out, who knows, but it is exciting.

    PS3 Review
    John Woo Presents Stranglehold sees John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat team up in this massive action game from Midway which is the spirtual sequel to the movie Hard Boiled. Environments are entirely destructable, and the gameplay is unrelenting. A review...

    PSP Review
    Sonic Rivals 2 is the second game in the series to hit the PSP following a solid first outing late last year. Yet again this is more of a racing title then adventure game. Don't look away though as this is great fun and worth considering adding to your collection. Here's our review.

December 18, 2007

    PS3 News
    The big news today is that Sony have released a new Firmware for the Playstation 3 - Firmware 2.10. This offers a couple of significant updates, although the WE WANT IT NOW! decoding of DTS-HD Master Audio (or outputting as bitstream) still isn't available. Here's the changelog...

      Voice Changer
      The Voice Changer feature has been added to voice/video chat. See details.

      Music
      You can now select [Type 3] as an option under [Settings] > [Music Settings] > [Bitmapping]. See details.

      Video

    • DivX and VC-1 (WMV) have been added to the types of files that can be played. (To play VC-1 (WMV) format files, you must go to (Settings) > (System Settings) and set [Enable WMA Playback]. Copyright-protected files or files that were encoded by using DivX 3.11 cannot be played. Files that are 2GB or more cannot be played.)
    • Blu-ray Disc Profile 1.1 is now supported. (You may now be able to use several additional features such as playback of two videos at the same time with Profile 1.1-compatible Blu-ray Discs. The available features vary depending on the disc.)
    • [BD Data Utility] has been added. (The management data that is used by the Blu-ray Disc is saved.)

    PS3 Review
    Folklore may not have top billing on your Christmas list for Santa visiting next week however this title from Game Republic, and published by Sony, is one that should be looked at. A solid adventure title awaits with some impressive use of the Sixaxis motion sensing...

    PS2 Review
    Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is a game which millions of people the world over were eagerly anticipating. The best soccer game is back with its yearly update but have Konami improved upon an already brilliant title? We've taken the PS2 version for a spin and give you our verdict.

December 17, 2007

    PS3 News
    Contrary to this report on C&VG (which has now been amended - although is still in correct) Australia may be receiving a toned-down version of GTA 4 with an M rating in Australia. While we can't confirm if the game will be edited at all for our territory, we would like to point out that like all the previous games the game will be rated MA15+ here with the advice of "Strong violence, Strong coarse language, Drug and sexual references".

    Blu-Ray News
    Warner Brothers has confirmed some not-so-good news with us recently. Unfortunately Blade Runner on Blu-Ray, which was scheduled for release on December 18, won't be out this year in Australia but has been delayed until 2008. Another disappointment is that unlike America Australia will only get the 2-disc version, and not the 5-disc box set (even if there were 2 DVD's among those 5 discs).

    Some of you may recall that the rather brilliant movie Legends of the Fall was reviewed by us some time ago. It seems that the movie has been delayed yet again. We have to wonder if it was due to the terrible transfer on the disc which we received - well below Blu-Ray quality. More news when we get it.

    Disney has confirmed that both Cars and Ratatoulle have been delayed on Blu-Ray from January 18 to March 5. Disappointing given the discs are out overseas already.

    So what do you do when you're bored for an hour, well update the Blu-Ray Release Schedule page of course. We're not listing every movie coming, just all the big releases heading our way, and there are a lot! Check it out.

December 16, 2007

    PS3 News
    A lot of people have been asking me about the news that the number of Firmware updates on the PS3 will be reduced in future and what it means. Will we see in-game XMB, will there still be updates? Well let me give you some details. While Sony have stated there will be fewer updates to the firmware, there will still be updates. What they are trying to stop are the smaller non-essential updates (remember every time you download a new Firmware it's about 120MB). As for in-game XMB Sony are still "looking into it", but there is no date announced. What we do know is that the next Firmware update will, or at least should, be released this month. It is almost certain that this will contain Blu-Ray Profile 1.1 upgrades which allows for Picture-in-Picture on Blu-Ray movies with the first such as Sunshine due out in January 2008. We may also see the confirmed support for DIVX in this release. We also have our fingers crossed that the PS3 will finally be able to either decode DTS-HD Master Audio to PCM, or output it in bitstream format over HDMI to a capable receiver. If that doesn't happen with the DIVX/Profile 1.1 update we suspect it will never happen. Our guess is that the next Firmware update may appear this week, just before Christmas so stay tuned...

    So did you check out the Playstation Store on Friday? I hope so because the Australian store got a swag of content. First up are full games Piyotama for $AU8.45 and High Stakes On The Vegas for $AU12.95 (which is a poker game - we bought it, and it's pretty good with online gameplay). Those who love demos will be pleased to see Burnout Paradise, Conan, and NBA 2K8 on the store while Guitar Hero III owners will find Velvet Revolver and Foo Fighters packs for $AU9.95 each. To top it all off there are wallpapers, music clips and game trailers too. Certainly one impressive week.

    Blu-Ray Review
    Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer hit the shelves this week on Blu-Ray and if you're a fan of the movie you will want to check this out. While the original movie wasn't great, this sequel is much better. Fox's latest Blu-Ray release is technically stunning, and has tonnes of extras. Here's our Blu-Ray review.

December 15, 2007

    PS3 News
    Eagerly awaiting the Warhawk expansion pack calld The Omega Dawn . Well it's not far away with December 20 now the expected due date. As yet there isn't a price for Australia but it will be released in the UK for £3.99 - so we're putting money on $AU9.95. Before then though December 19 will actually see a release of patch 1.2 which includes the following updates...

    • 5 New layouts.
    • Clan game server option.
    • Buddy slot reservations.
    • Integrated Warhawk Store.
    • Updated CTF capture/return behavior.
    • Internal stat padder protection.
    • Booster Pack status display at join game list.
    • DualShock3 integration.
    • Separate SIXAXIS motion control on/off per mode (ground, hover, flight).
    • Detailed Player Score display at end of game fixed.
    • Added new server type filters (player, ranked, dedicated, clan, Official Warhawk, etc).
    • Added new server full/open filter.
    • Fall damage exploit fixed.
    • Dismount into walls exploit fixed.
    • Invisible Tank, Turret & Warhawk exploit fixed.
    • Auto-kick of idle players.
    • Add to Favorites button added to end game screen.
    • Increased VOIP volume when not using headset.

    Blu-Ray Review
    Vacancy is a suspense horror movie that doesn't rely on gore and blood for thrills? It had us interested, as did the actors - Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale. Was it any good? We have taken the Blu-Ray disc for a spin and let you know what we think...

December 14, 2007

    Blu-Ray Review
    Die Hard 4.0 is out now on Blu-Ray so if you have a PS3, or have it on your list for Santa, then there is no better movie to check out at the same time. Bruce Willis is back as one of the most loved characters of all time, John McClane. The fourth movie could have been a disaster, but it's actual very entertaining. A review.

December 12, 2007

    PS3 News
    Everyone let out a collective cheer. Despite being released in Japan last July Sony America has only now finally confirmed that Hot Shots Golf 5 will be released in that territory and Europe. The game is one of the highest rated and selling games in Japan and will be another welcome exclusive for the PS3. The title is expected to be released around March 2008.

    According to reports, and contrary to what Sony have told us earlier this year LittleBigPlanet will not see a demo released in 2007. The game is still on target for 2008 though.

    Japanese magazine Famitsu have posted their review of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue which is due out in Japan this week. Did they like it? Well the game got a combined score of 39/40. Given that the release is basically a large demo of the full game that's pretty damn impressive. Stunning in fact. Still no word on the release for America or Europe - obviously it won't be pre-Christmas as originally announced.

    Blu-Ray Review
    Planet Earth is one of the greatest documentaries put to film/DVD/Blu-Ray. Not only does this Blu-Ray release include some of the most breathtaking scenes ever seen, but also 11 hours of footage from over 62 countries around the globe. What more could you want from this 5-disc set?

    PSP Review
    Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is the second in Capcom's, ermm, monster hunting series. This game expands on the original PSP title which was well received, but does it bring anything new to the table. Michael has taken the game for a lengthy spin and gives us his verdict.

December 11, 2007

    PS3 Review
    SingStar is a game we have been waiting for since the PS3 was first announced. Expected in early 2007 at or around the systems launch the game was delayed several times but has finally been released in time for Christmas - just. Can Sony deliver the goods though? Here's our full review.

    Blu-Ray Review
    Gridiron Gang is movie which never got a release in Australian cinemas, no doubt due to the subject matter and title. However even if you don't like sports movies, this is still one well worth checking out. The Rock shows his acting skills in this fantastic movie which gets solid treatment to Blu-Ray from Sony Pictures.

December 10, 2007

    PS3 News
    According to reports Capcom will release Lost Planet in America for the very reasonable price of $US39.99 - a full $US20 below the normal retail price of PS3 games. The title is due out there, and in Australia, in early 2008. No word yet on pricing in Europe or Australia.

    Ready for Call of Duty 5? Well we can't confirm it will be numbered 5 but Treyarch (who developed Call of Duty 3 are looking for Level Designers for an upcoming Call of Duty project. Interestingly the project may well be a World War II shooter. The job at states "Working experience with First-Person Shooter or Third-Person Shooter genres (console or PC). And if you’re a fan of World War 2 shooters, then even better!"

    Blu-Ray Review
    A Few Good Men contains one of the greatest casts ever assembled aren't let down with the story. This is one of the best courtroom dramas and the release from Sony on Blu-Ray is certainly welcome. Can You Handle The Truth??

December 9, 2007

    PS3 News
    Those of you checking out the Playstation Store this week in Australia would have notice the biggest new addition being a demo for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Besides that there are several new themes to download (we love the Uncharted one!). Americans are a little luckier as they got High Velocity Bowling and the GTA IV trailer as well as several smaller items.

    Capcom has confirmed that a demo for Devil May Cry 4 will be released on the Playstation Store in early 2008 - quite possibly before the game hits shelves in February 2008.

    PS3 Review
    Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is the latest game from Naughty Dog - the developers of Crash Bandicoot on PSOne and Jak & Daxter on PS2. This new game for the Playstation 3 is just as impressive - if not more so - then their other games. In short; sensational.

December 6, 2007

    PS3 News
    Want some pretty big release dates for Australia (which should be pretty accurate for Europe and possibly America as well?). Well how about Unreal Tournament III for release on March 7th - the game will be out in America before Christmas though. Not impressed with that date? How about on January 2nd seeing Area 51: Blacksite or Haze. Still not content, how about Sega's The Club on February 15th. Nice but what about the big one, Grand Theft Auto IV. Pencil in March 15th folks. These dates have all been updated in the last day or so from our sponsors Gameswarehouse. Check them out, plus many more dates now.

    Well it has been quite a while since we looked at the game but we have re-done our preview of Devil May Cry 4 with all new screenshots released in the last couple of weeks, and also some new details.

December 5, 2007

    PS3 News
    Prepare for battle Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare fans - and we know there are a lot of you. This weekend (from about 8pm in Australia) all matches will provide double XP to go towards your rankings. Should make up for the issues last weekend with results not being counted for several hours. Here's the details...

      Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Double XP WEEKEND
      Starts: Friday Dec 7th at 10 AM (PST)
      Ends: Monday Dec 10th at 10 AM (PST)
      Details:
      We're kicking off a double XP weekend exclusively on the PS3 starting on Friday and lasting till Monday morning. Play at anytime starting at 10 am (PST) through Monday at 10 am (PST) and you'll earn double the XP in every gametype. Rank up higher, unlock more all weekend long!

      This is a special limited time deal, so get in there and rank up while the double XP lasts, as come Monday morning it's back to normal XP. See you online!

    PS3 Review
    Assassin's Creed is one of the most hyped games of 2007. Many of you would be well aware of the stunning visuals, the big promises, and the detailed storyline - actually that may surprise you. Make sure you check out our spoiler-free review of this true next-gen game from Ubisoft.

December 4, 2007

    Blu-Ray News
    So you think there's still a big high-definition format war going on? Well there may be in America, but in Australia it looks that Blu-Ray is easily dominating the industry. Sales figures quited from GFK in this article in The Age shows that in terms of raw players HD-DVD has only sold 609 units compared to 2,241 Blu-Ray players. That's pretty paltry numbers in both camps, but then you add in the XBox 360 HD-DVD add-on and PS3 sales and the number shifts dramatically. To date the XBox 360 add-on has sold 2,461 units while the Blu-Ray capable PS3 has added over 100,000 Blu-Ray players to the mix. In terms of software Blu-Ray has shifted over 102,000 units in Australia while HD-DVD has only managed 18,000 sales (that's a margin of 5.66:1 in favour of Blu-Ray to date). As you would be aware we here at Futuregamez.net not only chose Blu-Ray as the best option for consumers, but have also been reviewing the discs - with some more big reviews includin Planet Earth and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within heading your way soon.

    PS3 News
    With the merger between Activision and Vivendi announced yesterday we have some great news for gamers with confirmation that Call of Duty 5, Guitar Hero 4 and a new Tony Hawk title are all in the works. Expect the games to be released in late 2008.

    PS3 Preview
    Ghostbusters The Video Game is one very exciting prospect. While the third movie will likely never happen now, the great news is that the quartet are back in video game form - and all the actors is taking part in the game. A preview.

December 3, 2007

    PS3 News
    Today we've decided to test the waters a bit with embedding videos on Futuregamez.net. This is a video of Sony's upcoming title Afrika (which is still a Working title) appearing on Youtube. It shows some new footage, but also seems to confirm a release date of Q'2 2008, although this isn't, we don't believe, an official Sony video. Let us know if would like us to include similar embedded videos in future by e-mailing us. Anyway enjoy... we did!

    PS3 Preview
    Race Driver: GRID is the latest racing game from Codemasters, and it could just become one of the greatest games on the PS3 to date - including Gran Turismo 5! Visually impressive, with proven developers this game looks like being a winner - and it's not even due out until mid-2008. Here's our preview.

    Industry News
    This is certain to be one of the biggest news items of the year. Gaming giants Activision and equally giant Vivendi have merged forming the largest gaming company in the world woth $US18.9 billion - even dethroning Electronic Arts! The new company will be called Activision Blizzard (Blizzard being owned by Vivendi). The merge will not see any delays to upcoming games, nor major restructuring of the management or operations at this stage.

December 2, 2007

    PS3 News
    According to reports Eidos has trademarked the title Tomb Raider: Underworld. It is rumoured this will become the title of the next Tomb Raider title which hasn't even been announced as yet. Following the great comeback for the series in the last couple of games we can't wait to see what Eidos, and probably Crystal Dynamics as developer, come up with.

    In a sign that the game is moving ever closer to release Devil May Cry 4 has been submitted to the OFLC for classification by Activision and awarded an M rating. Previous games in the series have all been rated MA15+. The game is due out in February.

    Blu-Ray Review
    The Covenant is due out in a couple of weeks from Sony Pictures - and it's heading to Blu-Ray. If you like Buffy then this movie from director Renny Harlin may float your boat. Having said that we didn't think this was a great movie, but the transfer is at least solid enough. We give the disc a spin, and bring you our review.

    All The Kings Men has a stellar cast, no doubt about it. Sean Penn, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Kate Winslett all make an appearance in this political thriller. While there's no denying that this movie has an impressive cast, is it actually worth your time? We review the Blu-Ray release...

December 1, 2007

    PS3 News
    Great new for Assassin's Creed fans with Ubisoft today releasing their first patch for the game which brings it to 1.10. The patch is around 25MB and must be installed when you start the game up. We don't have a changelog yet but the patch will hopefully stop some of the freezing - which for us has only occurred once in about 6 hours play so far - annoying, but not dramatic.

    PS2 Review
    SingStar R&B is another of Sony's long running SingStar titles. This will be the last before the series finally hits PS3. Are Sony stagnating?? We give you our full verdict in this review.


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