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<< SCROLL FOR MORE >>issue 251.06 September 6, 2011ALIENSCOLONIAL MARINESGearbox takes on the iconic sci-fi classicPRESS STARTOUR FAVORITE ALIEN-INVASION GAMESTHE BUZZFORZA 4 WARTHOG EASTER EGGGAME OF THE WEEKFIREFALL :AN MMO THAT’S FREE FOR ALLNEXT WAVESAY HELLOTO HALO ANNIVERSARYREVIEW CREWDEAD ISLAND RESISTANCE 3 BLOODRAYNEWEEK IN GEEKSCARFACE FRINGE HEADPHONES ADVERTISEMENT HOW TO USE POWER UP“Tell us about some of the new weapons and weapon designs for Borderlands 2.”www.egmnow.com CONTENTSTEAM EGMinside13 ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINESFacehuggers. Chestbursters. Just hearing the names of these creepy xenomorph crawlers sends chills up our collective spines. Thatpalpable sense of impending doom is why the franchise is perfect for videogames—and why we’re so excited about Gearbox’s upcoming take on the fiction in Aliens: Colonial Marines.INSERT COIN04 POWER UP05 CONTENTS06 STAFF PAGE07 LOGINPRESS START08 5 ALIEN INVASIONS09 GAMESTOP VS. ONLIVE10 FORZA WARTHOG11 THE WEEK IN GEEKCOVER STORY13 ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINESGAME OF THE WEEK21 FIREFALLNEXT WAVE22 RAGE23 HALO: ANNIVERSARYREVIEW CREW25 DEAD ISLAND28 RESISTANCE 331 BLOODRAYNE: BETRAYAL34 WARHAMMER 40K: SPACE MARINE37 DISGAEA 4:A PROMISE UNFORGOTTEN39 RISE OF NIGHTMARES42 iPAD GAME OF THE WEEK43 REVIEW RECAPGAME OVER44 FINAL THOUGHTSISSUE 251.06www.egmnow.com<< SCROLL FOR MORE >>PUBLISHER & FOUNDERSteve B. HarrisEDITORIALEXECUTIVE EDITORBrady FiechterMANAGING EDITORBrandon JusticeCONTENT EDITORMarc CamronSTAFF WRITERPaul SemelNEWS EDITOREric L. PattersonASSOCIATE EDITORAndrew FitchASSOCIATE EDITORRay CarsilloCONTRIBUTORSSteve Haske, Jared BoddenART DIRECTORMichael StassusADDITIONAL DESIGNMichael HobbsStock photos and sound courtesy of iStockphotoEGM MEDIA, LLC8840 Wilshire Blvd., Third Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 www.egmmediagroup.comPRESIDENT & PUBLISHERSteve HarrisASST TO THE PUBLISHERJodi BonestrooNEWSSTAND DIRECTORINTERNATIONAL LICENSING INQUIRIES Ilicensing@egmnow.netRon SklonLEGAL COUNSELBob WymanOz Abregov, Angela Yehwww.egmnow.com/subscribeCUSTOMER SERVICEegm@emailcustomerservice.comADVERTISINGACCOUNTINGTO SUBSCRIBEADVERTISING DIRECTORJeff EisenbergADVERTISING SALESPete SpiegelmanADVERTISING INQUIRIES800-557-4165 sales@egmnow.netTRAFFIC MANAGERAlicia PraterBRAND MANAGERJanis Van TineDIGITAL TECHNOLOGY POWERED BY SCREENPAPER MEDIA, LLC Dirk Gemeinhardt, President sales@screenpapermedia.comADDITIONAL WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT Jerry Witt INSERT COINlittle green menTHE EGM CREW’S ALIEN AFFECTIONS SLIDE for morewww.egmnow.comBrady FiechterColleague Ray Carsillo suggested a probing joke for this space, but Brady argued against it, re- minded of the consequences of probing jokes. LIKING: Director Ridley Scott returning to the Aliens universeNOT LIKING: Alien-claw-sharp thorns puncturing mountain-bike tires in the Santa Monica MountainsTRAVEL FATIGUE: Destroying all will to live... coupled with a broken HDTVPaul SemelIn 1999, Alien writer Dan O’Bannon told Paul that people shouldn’t watch the movie more than once because, “We are afraid of the unknown. When it is known, it’s not as scary.” Paul still ain’t buying it. LIKING: Alien Anthology on Blu-rayNOT LIKING: The Alien vs. Predator movies on anythingREADING: Richard Stark’s Comeback. Which has no aliensSLIDE for moreBrandon JusticeBrandon’s long hoped for an alien invasion to provide an excellent outlet for his hours of target practice in various videogames. But he’s slowly finding that overshadowed by his desire to see an alien chick with three boobs.LIKING: The realization that he doesn’t have to go to another trade show until 2012 NOT LIKING: The fact that the guy in a giant bacon suit at PAX Prime was a product pimp instead of a meat-loving cosplayerBLINKING: In disbelief at the shady business practices of certain retailers and publishers (they know who they are)Andrew FitchEric L. PattersonEric hopes humankind’s outer- space adventures are more Star Wars than Star Trek.LIKING: The deluge of Japanese Vita announcements about to hit NOT LIKING: That his joystick- mod idea’s already been done by someone else... MOST-WANTED ALIEN TECHNOLOGY: VF-1 ValkyrieRay CarsilloAfter moving to SoCal, Ray’s quickly learned that when people around here protest against “aliens,” they don’t mean Wookiees, Bothans, or anything else from Star WarsLIKING: The thought that we’re not alone in the universeNOT LIKING: What other intelligent life might think of us if they were ever to make contact WONDERING: When we’ll finally begin to colonize Mars and/or the moonSLIDE for moreAndrew’s closest close encounter? When he got on the air with the extraterrestrial-obsessed late- night radio legend Art Bell—featured in Prey. LIKING: Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s Paul. Haters be damned—its Comic-Con-inspired zaniness hit the spotNOT LIKING: That he hasn’t yet made the trek to the Little A’Le’Inn on Nevada’s Extraterrestrial HighwaySCARRING: Stumbling upon Christopher Walken’s creepy alien thriller Communion on TV at 2 a.m. Good luck gettin’ to sleep after that!SLIDE for more INSERT COINQUESTION OF THE WEEK@EGMLoginWhat’s your favorite game featuring aliens, and why?Alien Hominid. I mean,in how many other alien games can you jump on FBI agents in Area 51 and bite their heads off?— Chris Cookson (@coldmilk)Perfect Dark. That little guy was pretty cool. — Eric G (@eeease)Dead Space. There’s noth- ing like slicing aliens in half and executing an awesome-looking, grue- some death.— Eric Hulen(@erichulen)Halo: Combat Evolvedis my favorite game with aliens in it. Just when you get used to the Covenant aliens, you get hit with the Flood. — Cory Adams (@ChicagoBox)Space Channel 5. They weren’t such bad guys af- ter all. #OMGSpoilers— Geen (@Geen82)I liked that you didn’t have to kill the aliens in Pikmin if you didn’t want to.— benjamin will (@benjaminwil)Contra’s my fave game featuring aliens; you’re a badass commando with überweapons. I love the boss battles, and it was my first co-op shooter. — DEAN M????????? (@DeanM1978)X-COM: UFO Defense. No game has ever made me hate aliens more. Those cheap, cheap aliens.— rdarmand (@rdarmand)My pick would be Destroy All Humans!, because it took everything we love about aliens and made it fresh and funny.— Jason Venter(@jasonventer)M.U.L.E. is my pick. Inter- galactic trade has never been more exciting.— Jered Bobafettjm (@Bobafettjm)www.egmnow.comegm staff feedsEGM Staff Twitter FeedsBrady Fiechter @bradyfiechter Brandon Justice @jokeontheworld Paul Semel @paulsemel Andrew Fitch @twittchEric L. Patterson @pikoeri Ray Carsillo @raycarsilloContact EGMiE-mail:letters@egmnow.netSnail mail:EGM8840 Wilshire Blvd. Third FloorBeverly Hills, CA 90211Web:www.egmnow.comSCROLL FOR MORESomeone needs to tell me why I’m painfully enjoying this Mortal Kombat Collection (sorry, Kollection) on PSN. Nostalgia, I love you!— Brady FiechterJust hit the court with 2KSports’ NBA 2K12. Tons of improvements to basic gameplay, and NBA’s Greatest wasa blast. Full preview coming soon!— Brandon JusticeYou say, “You can’t play Deus Ex as a shooter.”I say, “You’re not trying hard enough.”— Paul SemelSports games can’t capture things like the horrific spiral the SF Giants currently find themselves in...which is why I prefer the real thing.— Andrew FitchPersona 4: The Goldenconfirmed to nothave a female main- character option. I’m still very excited for the game, but that’s horribly disappointing. — Eric L. PattersonThe downside of Borderlands 2 being the best thing I saw at PAX Prime? It won’t be out for at least another full year.— Ray Carsillo PRESS STARTMY FAVORITE MARTIANSEGM’s Favorite Extraterrestrial Invasionswww.egmnow.comSILENT DEBUGGERSTurboGrafx-16Boarding a cargo station floating in the darkness of space, you (along with your computer-hacking partner, Leon) are simply looking fora little loot to snatch—and hopefully turn around for some quick cash. Instead, the station’s selfdestruct sequence triggers, and to make matters worse, its floors are invaded by an unknown alien lifeform. Graphically simple and conceptually quaint by today’s stan-dards, Silent Debuggers was an amazing experience for me at the time. As you traversed the firstperson hallways of the station, a creepy, hopeless atmosphere took hold, punctuated by the total lack of background music. The only sounds were those of your footsteps—or your motion sensor as you got dangerously close to some hideous xenomorph.— Eric L. PattersonSLIDE for moreCONTRANES, Super NESSome perceptively classic games just don’t hold up under the magnifying glass of modern design sensibilities, but what can possibly break down in the collective of aliens, elegant simplicity, twoplayer action, and the name Contra? That’s right, kids—only one of the greatest franchises of the 8and 16-bit generations in Contra, Super C, and Contra III: The AlienWars. Whether it was furiously inputting the 30-man code in the NES original or heeding the unforgettably awkward call to “attack aggressively” on the Super NES, this series offered an endless array of weapons, aliens, and hardcore challenges. Fighting my buddy for the Spread shot as diligently as the alien scum was hard to beat.— Brady FiechterSLIDE for moreCONTRANES, Super NESSome perceptively classic games just don’t hold up under the magnifying glass of modern design sensibilities, but what can possibly break down in the collective of aliens, elegant simplicity, twoplayer action, and the name Contra? That’s right, kids—only one of the greatest franchises of the 8and 16-bit generations in Contra, Super C, and Contra III: The AlienWars. Whether it was furiously inputting the 30-man code in the NES original or heeding the unforgettably awkward call to “attack aggressively” on the Super NES, this series offered an endless array of weapons, aliens, and hardcore challenges. Fighting my buddy for the Spread shot as diligently as the alien scum was hard to beat.— Brady FiechterSLIDE for moreBROKEN HELIXPS1So, you think Bruce Campbell starring as a wisecracking Marine investigating an Area 51 alien incident would make a great game? Well, that’s because it already is!In the wake of higher-profile titles like Vandal Hearts and Symphony of the Night back in 1997, Konami released a clever little under-theradar third-person shooter featuring everyone’s favorite charming rogue as he unraveled the mystery behind his father’s bizarre death 15 yearsago. Along the way, the boomstickpacking Bruce had to deal with mad scientists, various and sundry alien beings, and a trigger-happy squadmate who bore more than a passing resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger...or was it McBain? But the game’s biggest hooks were its multiple endings and real-time structure that saw you race the clock to getto the bottom of the alien answers— think Dead Rising with an extraterrestrial twist. — Andrew FitchSLIDE for moreWhether it’s alien invaders or alien protagonists, extraterrestrials have always been a gaming crowdpleaser—and these bug-eyed, gray-skinned fellas have played some major roles in quite a few terrific franchises over the years. So, with Aliens: Colonial Marines right around the corner,we thought the time was right to take a look at five of our favorite games outside the Alien universe involving, well, aliens!SLIDE for moreSPACE INVADERSArcadeSuddenly, everything we thought we knew about the universe and our place in it was wrong. We were not alone. There were aliens among us, hanging in the night sky. And they were not friendly. Sure, their military strategy—to move in a line, occasionally dropping down and reversing course, and only speeding up when their numbers grew thin—may have seemed easy tocounter, but we were young.Naïve. And every time we thoughtwe wiped them out, another regiment would take their place. Sometimes, one of their commanders would fly above the troops, openly mocking us, daring us to take him out. Wereit not for the barricades, it would’ve ended much sooner. But even they only held up for so long. In the end, we were doomed. — Paul SemelSLIDE for moreDESTROY ALL HUMANS! (series)360, PS2, PS3, Wii, XboxIt’s hard to pick just one entry in this hysterical spoof series of alien invasions and American pop culture. The franchise spans the ’50s through the ’70s and stars an alien named Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium-137...and later 138) who’s just the latest in a long line of clones, as Crypto’sspecies, the Furons, no longer procreates by traditional means.That means Crypto must collect long-hidden Furon DNA in the brain stems of humans—left after the Furons vacationed on Earth eons ago and unintentionally planted some “seeds.” With unforgettable characters, tons of insane weaponry, and awesome environment destruction, the Destroy All Humans! series is one of my favorite gaming guilty pleasures. — Ray CarsilloSLIDE for more PRESS STARTGameStop vs. OnLiveGameStop takes issue with Deus Ex OnLive offer bundle By Eric L. PattersonTHE BUZZ: GameStop made waves recently when the retailer removed and discarded OnLive code vouchers from all PC copies of Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution.WHAT WE KNOW: A leaked memo uncovered on the Internet revealed a GameStop corporate directive orderingits retail locations to open every sealed copy of the just-released PC version of Deus Ex in order to remove an included voucher. When the online community called out the retailer for this behavior, a GameStop representative argued that the voucher—which provided a free $50 copy of the game via streaming service OnLive— was an unapproved promotional tool fora competitor. A few days later, GameStop CEO Paul Raines apologized for the way his company handled the situation and offered a $50 gift card and exclusive offer to anyone who’d purchased a copy of Deus Ex that had the code pulled.EGM’S TAKE: On one hand, there’s some legitimacy to GameStop’s concern over selling a product that includes an offer specifically directing consumers to a competitor’s service. On the other hand, it’s somewhat troubling that the company felt it had the right to pursue this particular solution in the first place, rather than returningthose copies of the game to Square Enix in exchange for sans-voucher versions—as it will now be doing. Meanwhile, GameStop’s shady definition of “new” continues to be a source of contention for its frustrated customers.www.egmnow.com PRESS STARTTHE BUZZNew Vehicle UnlockedIconic Halo Warthog to be featured in Forza 4 By Ray CarsilloTHE BUZZ: Forza developer Turn 10 has teamed up with Halo’s 343 Industries to provide a very special guest vehicle to players in Forza Motorsport 4. A Halo 4 Warthog will be featured in Forza 4’s brand- new Autovista mode, which allows gamers to get a detailed look at some of the game’s supercars—and it’ll provide fans of both franchises a chance to get up close and personal with the iconic all-terrain vehicle like never before.WHAT WE KNOW: Turn 10 head Dan Greenawalt made sure to point out thatthis is an Easter egg—meaning only the most hardcore Forza 4 drivers will likely have a shot at unlocking the Warthog in the Kinect-compatible Autovista mode. And considering you can’t drive the vehicle in- game (with a top speed of only 78 mph,it would get smoked off the line—butcould a Ferrari outrace the bullets from its miniturret?), only the mightiest of mechanics might even be interested in going for it.An extra-special addition to the Warthog? Cortana herself will provide never-before- heard commentary as you explore the inner and outer workings of the vehicle.EGM’S TAKE: It’s not unheard of for a company to cross-promote with exclusive franchises, but it might actually be a plus that the Warthog isn’t a drivable vehicle. Afterall, there’s definitely the danger of franchise overexposure with Halo—in which case, Turn 10 might potentially turn off the audience most interested in Forza to begin with.www.egmnow.com PRESS STARTTOUCH TO VISIT HELLO, LITTLE FRINGE SPAGHETTI WEBSITES >> FRIEND BENEFITS FRIENDLYwww.egmnow.com<<< SLIDE for moreAs anyone who’s played a Grand Theft Auto title—or any of its many clones—can attest, the 1983 movie Scarface has had a huge impact on gaming. Newly available from Universal Home Video, the Scarface: Limited Edition Blu-ray ($34.98) comes with the documentary The Scarface Phenomenon, deleted scenes, ex- clusive art cards, and a DVD of the original Scarface from 1932. Though, if you’re truly money, there’s an even more limited version for $999.99 that comes in a working, Scarface-themed humidor.HELLO, LITTLE FRIENDSPAGHETTI FRIENDLYWhile headsets are great for nighttime gaming, their mics usually get in the way when you want to use them to, say, listen to music while eating spaghetti. But not the Siberia v2 from SteelSeries ($119.99), which has built-in retractable microphones. Made for PS3 but compatible with 360s (with an included connector) and anything else that uses headphones, the Siberias have independent voice and in-game volume controls, as well as comfortable ear cups with noise-reducing foam for undistracted marathon sessions.<<< SLIDE for more >>>With a slightly sullen guy, a feisty redhead, and a huge conspiracy alternating with “weirdness of the week” episodes, Fringe is so much like The X-Files that we worry there’s two mediocre videogames in its future. Until then, though, we can enjoytheir adventures passively. Out this week, Fringe: The Complete Third Season— which is available on DVD ($59.98) and Blu-ray ($69.97) from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment—augments its 22-episode run with featurettes, a gag reel, two episode commentaries, and, on the Blu-ray, pop-up commentaries and featurettes.FRINGE BENEFITS ADVERTISEMENT COVER STORYGearbox tacklesa dork dream— imagining the world of Aliens in a videogame10 QUESTIONSCLOSEENCOUNTERSOF THE NERD KINDwww.egmnow.com COVER STORY01EGM: We’ve had a chance to checkout the demo, andthe game looks amazing. Obviously, you guys are inlove with the fiction. How does it feel to work on the Aliens franchise?Brian Martel: Oh, it’s an absolute dream come true. When I first saw Aliens as a teenager in the theater on opening night, I’ve gone my whole ca- reer wanting to finally work in this uni- verse and play with these weapons and these characters, and it’s just a dream come true.02Tell us a little bit about therelationshipwith 20th Cen- tury Fox. [Gearbox president andCEO] Randy [Pitchford] mentioned in the E3 presentation that you guys had a chance to work with several folks who were intimately involved with the films.Fox has been really good to us,and they’ve been great to work with. They’ve let us have a lot of freedom with what we want to do—not only with the xenomorphs, but also with the story and how we want this to feel like a “sequel.” We’ve been able to work with Syd Mead as concept artist—who basi- cally invented the future—so we want- ed to come up with areas that weren’tOUR INTERVIEWGearbox art director Brian Martel’s helped bring some of gaming’s most iconic franchises to life: Duke Nukem, Civilization, and Half-Life, among others. Now, he’s working on perhaps his most rewarding challenge:the world of Aliens.www.egmnow.com COVER STORYin the film because [Aliens director James] Cameron didn’t have the budget or didn’t need it for the movie, and we’re able to get to him and ask him, “What did you have in mind for this type of hallway or this kind of situation?” It’s just been excellent; it’s amazing to be able to talk to those guys and to be able to do some- thing that was the original vision for a lot of that stuff.03One of the things we no-ticed right away,obviously, was that you guys are taking a lot of timeto painstakingly model the environ- ments from the films. What sorts of things are Aliens fans going to see as far as elements that are direct inspira- tions from the films?Well, we want to think about Cam- eron’s vision for the cinematography. We want to have the universe live up to that sort of feeling, so you have to use certain blacks and lights and col- ors and things that he was using in the movies—and then bring that to life ina game engine. So, that part’s really awesome. Getting the atmosphere right was paramount for us, so modifying the engine to do that has been a big deal. Then, of course, using the weapons and being able to actually play as one of these soldiers—and instead of trying to make new types of Colonial Marines, these are the Colonial Marines.04One thing you men- tioned was the tech. Youthose “real” lens flares so that it feels like it’s a Hollywood production—but at the same time, you’re in it, and you’re experiencing it as opposed to just sitting back and watching it.guys are really paying attention to lighting, and from an atmospheric standpoint, you can tell you’re re- ally going for that vibe that was set in the films. What’s the new tech allowing you do there?It allows us to have real-time shadows and a lot of different light sources. We’re able to do lit fog and particles, and what that does is really give you the mood and atmo- sphere that you expect. Then, doing things like lens flares—and getting05Right. And an- other thing that you’ve touched on is the factthat you guys are going to have 4-player drop-in co-op throughout the entire campaign. I can’t tell you how excited we are about that, but obvi- ously, with your experience with Bor- derlands, you guys were just able to bring that into the game. What do youMORE IMAGESphotosSNATCHERKeep a close eye on your squadmates at all times: Mar- tel says thatat times, the xenomorphs might swoop in and snatch one of ’em up—and it’ll be up to you to rescue them.www.egmnow.com COVER STORYthink that’s going to add to the experience?Well, I think we always like to havethe campaign be something that we can experience with our friends—but most of the time, we can’t because of technical reasons. So, we’ve really structured this game to allow you to play it as a single- player game and have a badass time. But I can also call up my friends and say, “Let’s get together, and let’s do this. Let’s set up our team the way we want, pick our weapons, figure out what we’re going to do, and play it together.”06So, are you guys going to haveany class sys-tems or special- izations to that effect to really enhancethe experience?It’s not really classes so much as roles, depending on what weapon you take. If you want to be a Smartgun operator, you can do that, but if you need to throw that thing down and pick up a shotgun like Drake did in the movie, then you can do that. But, it’s really more role-centric and not class-based.07Are there going to be vehiclesin the game?We saw some- one hop in a Power Loader during aBosom BuddiesAliens still loves PredatorGiven the lackluster reception given to both the 2007 movie Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and the Aliens vs. Predator game that came out last year, things are looking bleak for our favorite odd couple. Well, unless you like comic books,that is. Dark Horse Comics continues to pair the twosome in new comics, with the most recent collection being Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War (19.99; darkhorse.com). Written by Randy Stradley, who penned the original AVP comics, andartists Rick Leonardi (Spider- Man 2099) and Mark Penning- ton (Dark Reign: Elektra), the graphic novel reveals a schism among the Predators—and you’ll never guess what one side’s using like attack dogs.— Paul Semelwww.egmnow.com Insert Search Text COVER STORYand dealing with that, I think we’ve seen what every director has changed and done with that in the series. Obvi- ously, we have the one that’s in Alien, and then we see what Cameron did with the warrior xeno and the queen, so he obviously wasn’t interested in filling out that whole lifestyle of the hive and what that means and how it works; he didn’t quite have the budget for that at the time.But we’re not just making a dramatic “something I watch” kind of experience; we’re doing something where you’re playing it. We have to think about the gameplay elements, so we have to think about what you see with the Crusher. Obviously, this isn’t a guy you can attack from the front; you have to find a way to get around him and shoot him from the rear, and that’s where co-op play would make a lot of sense—or maybe there’s something environmental that you can think to use to impact that xeno and deal with him that way. So, those are somesmack that alien in the face with a shotgun, his blood’s all over you—and that’s typically “game over” in the movies, as they say. But in the game, it seems a bit less impactful.Well, a couple of things I’ll say about the acid blood: Yes, it will play a part. At E3, you’re not going to worry about that as much, as we’re just trying to show you all the different things the game has to offer. It’s not going to be something where you’re destroying the whole world and melting whole build- ings, as it just doesn’t make any kind of sense. It’s very hard to build something like that. But, even if you look at what Cameron did—sure, he had the acidat the beginning, but he pretty much forgets about it until it makes a lot of sense for the story where someone has to take their armor off, or they’ll get burned. But even looking at operations when they’re having that fight, the acid doesn’t really even play a part. So, it’s really one of those things where, yes, we want it to be part of gameplay, yes, we want it to damage, we want it to have an impact when the liquid hitsthe environment, but it’s not some- thing that’s going to give you whole new paths unless it makes some sense to do that. But it’s not like everything is deformable because of acid—that would be ridiculous.of the things we’re thinking of with the whole life cycle, but we also want to fill in some of those gaps of what it means to have a full hive.10The acid blood from the aliens didn’t really seem to af- fect the charactersin the demo. Is that something that’ll be explained or come into play, orfor gameplay purposes, did you guys decide to tone that down a bit? If youWATCH THE TRAILERvideoCANONIZEDMartel’s espe- cially excited that Colonial Marines is a direct sequelto the classic 1986 film. This isn’t just some throwaway side story—in his words, this is “canon.”www.egmnow.com COVER STORYCo-op Till Ya DropLeveraging their experience with 2K’s Borderlands, the team at Gearbox will offer full 4-player co-op throughout the entire single-player campaign, allowing marines to drop in and out of the game at any time.“Wise Fwom Youw Gwaaave...”Aliens had a bit of a rough road early on,as Gearbox decided to “go dark” for over a year while they worked with Sega to get the product to its current sweet spot.Facehugging FunWhile the developers are being tight-lipped on specifics, Gamescom footage revealed a host of first-person events that will get your marine into the action like never before: seal- ing doors, fighting off facehuggers, and more.LESSwww.egmnow.com COVER STORYDelicious DNAAuthenticity is always a concern for fans, but Aliens idealists everywhere will be glad to know that Gearbox is working hand-in-hand with futurist Syd Mead, who helped craft the look and feel of the Aliens universe.LESSFeatured CreaturesIn addition to a new storyline, Gearbox will also be developing a host of new enemies to help enhance the experience and add depth to gameplay, including the angry big guy featured in the new trailer.The Legend ContinuesRather than following the storyline from one of the Aliens films, Gearbox has actually been given the green light to create new fiction in the universe, making this a true sequel in the movie canon.www.egmnow.com By Brandon JusticePUBLISHERRED 5 STUDIOSDEVELOPERRED 5 STUDIOSPLATFORMSPCPLAYERSMMORELEASEFALL 2011GAME OF THE WEEKFIREFALLA free MMOFPS from the makers of WOW? Yes, pleaseSLIDE for More >>>Target-Rich EnvironmentLead designer Scott Youngblood (of Tribes 1 & 2 fame) has billed Firefall as a dream project, saying it’s an opportunity to deliver on PvP featureshe’s always wanted in a shooter. Considering the number of players supported, we can only imagine what he’s got in store...<<< SLIDE for MoreA Brave New WorldUnlike most FPS titles, Firefall will feature an open- world structure that allows players to explore and conquer as they see fit, enabling co-op combatfor hundreds of players at a time across glorious landscapes—like the one featured here.<<< SLIDE for More >>>Free to AllFirefall will adopt the free-to-play model popularized by the likes of Zynga and Playdom, but Red 5 won’t charge for core content, focusing instead on visual enhancements for your character and “convenience” items that will allow you to avoid the bullet-to-bullet grind of traditional character advancement.<<< SLIDE for More >>>Opening a Can of ChaosThere’s a beefy central storyline in Firefall, but Red 5 promises a host of dynamic events throughout the world that will give players the opportunity to enhance their individual experience as they rise in the ranks.From Premium to FreemiumDev studio Red 5’s considerable pedigree features folks who helped craft World of Warcraft and the squad- based shooter Tribes—meaning you can expect triple-A production values across the board.All About E-SportsRed 5 is also promising unparalleled presentation with respect to competitive gaming, with a huge focus on e-sports integration for both combatants and spectators that shouldbe a big boon for the Firefall community.<<< SLIDE for More >>>Vertical HorizonFirefall will focus on open, vertical level design, offering several enhancements to aid navigation— including the handy-dandy glider wings seen here. Red 5’s still being tight-lipped on options, but expect each to have a significant impact on the battle to come.<<< SLIDE for More >>>Keep it ClassyThe game will feature four core Battleframes (or classes), allowing players to choose between the Medic, Assault, Recon, and Engineer, with the ability to hot-swap between each during through in- game terminals—adding a surprising layer of depth to the frantic, open-world action.<<< SLIDE for More >>> NEXT WAVERAGEPUBLISHERBETHESDA SOFTWORKSDEVELOPERID SOFTWAREPLATFORMS360, PS3, PC, iOSRELEASE DATE10.04.11by Brandon Justicewww.egmnow.comRAGEOUR HANDS-ON WITH ID’S APOCALYPTIC SOPUS BLOWS THE DOORS OFFtop me if you’ve of Bethesda’s own heard this one be- Fallout 3, the similarities fore: Dazed, con- come to a screechingfused, and decidedly out of sorts, you crawl outof your futuristic bunker into a wasteland beset on all sides by mutants, madmen, and an end- less sea of sand. Suchis the stage set by Rage, the hotly anticipated FPS firestorm from the über- talented kids at id Soft- ware, and while it’s more than an eensy bit similar to the opening momentshalt quicker than you can say “Apophis mete- orite impact.”Well, OK, possibly a touch faster than that, as an hour into exploring this hefty hybrid’s blend of cap-bustin’, hard- drivin’, RPG-lovin’ inten- sity, I’m pretty sure this seedy tale of postimpact American greed willbe the most polished, pleasurableSLIDE for moreexperience id’s ever ushered onto the gam- ing community. Featur- ing a mission-based structure more akinto Dragon Quest than Doom, Rage quickly thrusts you into the ongoing struggle for survival via a series of missions dished out by your fellow wasteland- ers, where you’ll earn new weapons, learn to craft items, gain ac- cess to new areas, and uncover more of the game’s pulse-pounding plot—and my early look at the game has re- vealed a surprising em-phasis on presentation and open gameplay.Beyond this, the driv- ing and shooting me- chanics are, of course, spot-on, and Rage shows off id’s Tech 5 engine via surprisingly varied outdoor environ- ments, brutal animated mayhem, and sharp en- emy AI that’ll put even the most seasoned FPS veterans to the test. It’s still a little ways out, but if this limited look’s any indication, id’s collision course with game-of- the-year accolades may require an Ark all its own.SLIDE for more NEXT WAVEHALO: ANNIVERSARY343 TAKES US ON A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE— WITH A SURPRISING NOD TO THE PRESENThen I first got and join the Master Chief wind of 343 Revival. More than just Industries’ upa mere port, Halo: Anni-res’d love letter to the original Halo, my initial reaction was a resounding “meh.” Not that I don’t appreciate the franchise—but, honestly, most remakes do little more than remind me of why I love the original. After a solid look at Anniversary at this year’s Halo Fest, though, I’m starting to think that I may need to take up an assault rifleversary has all the makings of a major entry into the FPS market, thanks to some solid additions that’ll make this an engrossing experience for veterans and n00bs alike.Take the visual overhaul: The team moved the core code over to the Halo: Reach engine and remastered the textures, geometry, and more, butthey’re also including a nifty feature that allows you to toggle back and forth between “old” and “new” visuals, allowing old-school players to take a trip into the past while giving newcomers the distinct impression that they’re getting their money’s worth.Multiplayer’s getting a host of upgrades, too, including a new slateof check boxes for the Achievement whores out there, support for Kinect and 3DTVs, remaster and remastered versions (count ’em— two of each!) of someof the franchise’s most popular maps, brandnew blasting grounds, and full online co-op through the campaign— a considerable improvement over the splitscreen offerings of the original. Not bad for a new touch of paint, eh?The game’s due to drop on November 15, the 10th anniversaryof the original Halo’s launch, and while we’ll all have to wait a while for a final verdict, I know I can’t wait to dig into this second-chance clash with the mighty Covenant.SLIDE for moreSLIDE for morePUBLISHERMICROSOFT GAME STUDIOSDEVELOPER343 INDUSTRIESPLATFORMS360RELEASE DATE11.15.11by Brandon Justicewww.egmnow.com ADVERTISEMENT REVIEW CREWPUBLISHERDEEP SILVERDEVELOPERTECHLANDPLATFORMS360, PS3, PCPLAYERSSINGLE-PLAYER, 1-4 ONLINERATINGM - MATURERELEASE DATE09.06.11At long last, a zombie game with braaaaiiiins!DEAD ISLANDby BRANDON JUSTICEwww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWThere’s a popular theory among the button-mashing faithful that the recent rise in undead obses- sion in the development com- munity has lead to an unnecessary flood of zombie homages, but after a lengthy vacation on the fictional island of Banoi, I humbly submit that the issue’s not the number of brain-bashing games on the market, but rather the lack of flesh-feast- ing escapades that keep pace with the open-world awesomeness that is Dead Island.While there were more than a few questions going into this one—Tech- land’s shaky pedigree, a new engine, and the ambition typically associated with a game of this ilk, to name a few—I can happily attest that this effortlessly engrossing love child of Valve’s Left 4 Dead and Bethesda’s modern Fallout titles is exactly what you’d hoped it’d be. A classic RPG in a modern wrapper, Dead Island grabbed me in its chilling embrace from the opening exodus from the hotel—and hasn’t let go since.This is due largely to the game’s incredible design sense, which oozes out like so many brains on the floor of a crowded corridor in nearly every facetof gameplay. The island setting naturally lends itself to the typical fetch-questing one would expect in a RPG of this type, and the team pulls no punches when it comes to mature, engrossing storylines that echo the game’s famous trailer that transfixed the Internet back in February. The island’s in chaos, heroes are in short supply, and each mission sits somewherewww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWbetween salvation and self-preservation, conveyed brilliantly by a host of credible voice actors who do a great job of representing the unfortunate lot caught up in the fires of a paradise on the fast track to hell.This transition’s surprisingly elegant, focusing less on a progressively pain- ful pounding and more on empower- ing your crew to handle larger wavesof enemies while losing yourself to the trials of a zombie outbreak firsthand. Credit’s also due to Techland’s design team for an exemplary AI effort; the game offers about a dozen different fleshsacks to contend with, each with their own attack patterns and weak spots. Each new mission has you on the edge of your seat, knee-deep in series of s***storms—and each slightly differ- ent than the last.But you’ll be well-equipped to face these undead onslaughts, as the Con- demned-style combat and weapon vari- ety is also a high point, borrowing from the likes of Dead Rising in its utilitarian leanings. While I was somewhat an- noyed with the looting interface’s need for constant button presses, there’s a ton of rewards for those who like a good treasure hunt, and items found are often extended by a robust mod system that offers dozens of ways to up the ante.Between these two elements, the game encourages constant exploration and a genuine sense of identification with one of the game’s four core char- acters. Each specializes in a specific combat style, punctuated by an addic-tive leveling system that does a solid job of unfolding the game’s skill trees. More importantly, you’ll have the pleasureof leaning on each discipline offered, thanks to the game’s bold insistence on 4-player co-op throughout. While titles like The Elder Scrolls have shied away from the notion, Dead Island dives inAnd that’s the thing. Dead Island had some lofty goals, but Techland broughtit all home in style. It’s hardly a shot-for- shot re-creation of the epic trailer, but this isn’t just another zombie game, either.It’s a once-in-a-hardware-generation gauntlet tossed confidently at the feet of sad storytellers who seem incapable ofhave the big-budget backing of other open-world adventures, but Dead Island’s every bitas deep, more than capableTHE GOOD4-player co-op, the power of Chrome 5, solid designTHE BADLoot system’s unnecessary button pressesTHE UGLYThe average zombie on the wrong end on my sledgehammerscore exiting the traditional notion of 9.5what gamers want. It may notheadfirst, delivering one of themost important multiplayer experiences in the current generation—and after you’ve enjoyed a gore-soaked rompfrom the bloodied beaches ofthe resort to the forebodingbowels of the untamed jungles, you’ll have a hard time imagining an open-world adventure without a few friends in tow.as a multiplayer experience, and surprisingly polished in places mostgames stumble. If you’re looking for a viable alternative to world war, wizards, or warriors, this is definitely it.www.egmnow.comWATCH THE TRAILERvideoZOMBIES- BY-THE-SEA Cutting and struttingyour way up Dead Island’s zombified beach takes a healthy dose of rage—and a high tolerance for blood. REVIEW CREWAn improved sequel that still sticks to closely to the FPS rulesPUBLISHERSONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICADEVELOPERINSOMNIACPLATFORMSPS3PLAYERSSINGLE-PLAYER, 2-PLAYER CO- OP, 16-PLAYER ONLINERATINGM - MATURERELEASE DATE09.06.11RESISTANCE 3by BRADY FIECHTERwww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREW“Resistance 3 is great!” I screamed excitedlyto EGM colleague and fellow Resistance fan Ray Carsillo ina text message—a couple of hours through what I was happily sure would be redemption for Insomniac’s stunted Resistance 2.A few hours later: “Um, scratch that. Ugh.”I could’ve enthusiastically continued the conversation allnight, and it would’ve conflated with moments of excitement, frustration, disappointment, and praise. This spirited—and, at times, soaring— first-person march through a 1950s alien apocalypse is by no means an “ugh” game. It’s just that every high moment is followed by some tedious, questionable stretch that fractures the experience.Modern-warfare games are quickly starting to lose their hold on me, andI say this as someone who defends Modern Warfare 2 as one of the great shooters. My palate’s simply fatigued, which makes Resistance 3’s diversely colored setting even that much more engaging. Sure, I’m still following the leader through a war maze, going on rescue missions, and all the other paint-by-numbers choices, but it’s really enjoyable being in a field in Oklahoma or following a guy in farmer gear rather than some overly designed super military suit. It’s not just the time period that Insomniac handleswww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWwith an artist’s touch—the Middle America vibe comes through richly, and with a stylistic touch that feels more fantasythan reality, more dreamlike in its war- torn horrors. And, at times, even a little beautiful. The game struggles to maintain its finer emotional beats, but the quieter scenes after a drawn-out battle are well done and unexpectedly harsh.I like that Resistance 3 can get downright nasty at times with its depiction of violence—and the aftermath of battle. One of the better stretches takes place in a decrepit prison, where you’re forced to wreak havoc with a giant sledgehammer. This area also introduces a deviously fun weapon that allows you to infect your victim and watch him struggle...and eventuallypop. The game’s hopeless tone can get a little awkward at times—the Bible- thumping community introduced hereis effective yet underdeveloped—but there’s an earnestness and cinematic sweep to Resistance 3 that’s removed from the usual bombast of the genre.Resistance 3 is true to the series and maintains its strength to entertain with nifty weapons that don’t feel ripped outResistance 3 is true to the series and maintains its strength to entertain with nifty weapons that don’t feel ripped out of the familiar FPS handbook.of the familiar FPS handbook. The game just doesn’t feel like everything elseout there, even when you’re essentially shooting off a sniper rifle. The experience system applied to weapons usage is a nice touch; it signifies effectively that there’s a fun, mechanics- driven game here just as much as the “realistic warfare.” Big boss battles aretimes that be pure awesome, served up on an assembly line? One generic midgame area, dusky and cavelike, contains whatI believe could be the gaming record for aliens popping out of pods.If I’d kept on texting Ray my thoughts before he read this review, I’d have succinctly said: “Resistance 3 is a fun ride; it’s just so frustratingly inconsistentTHE GOODThe setting, the feel, the style, the pedigreeTHE BADFeels underdeveloped in ideas and executionTHE UGLYDecapitations when you least expect themscore and can’t escape the same 7.5 old, lazy genre trappingsindeed gigantic and classicallyspun, requiring you to discernpatterns and attack soft spots.I would’ve enjoyed a few morein the end—if only to cut up the occasional stretches of tedious shootouts. One of Resistance3’s nagging weaknesses exists in the persistence that, hey, if we can send 20 alien scum running at you, wouldn’t 10despite its bold successes.” As a side note, forproper impressions of Resistance 3’s multiplayer components—there’s quitea lot of ground to cover and necessary investment postrelease—head on over to EGMNOW.com.www.egmnow.comWATCH THE TRAILERvideoHEARTLAND HORRORS After somany Space Marines and supersoldiers, it’s refreshing to take up the call to arms in the Midwest— it makes the experience more relatable. REVIEW CREWPUBLISHERMAJESCO ENTERTAINMENTDEVELOPERWAYFORWARDPLATFORMSXBLA, PSNPLAYERSSINGLE-PLAYERRATINGT - TEENRELEASE DATE09.06.11Beautiful agonyBLOODRAYNE: BETRAYALby ERIC L. PATTERSONwww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWIlove WayForward. Of course, ifI were to check the official EGM handbook of standards and prac- tices for proper review writing, I’m probably not supposed to say things like that. Especially not as the opening sentence of my review.And yet, here I am, saying it. Tobe clear, this isn’t the sort of love that would taint my ability to fairly review a particular title of theirs—say, their latest project, BloodRayne: Betrayal—nor the type of love that grew from having a long history with the company and an overinflated sense of nostalgia for their past offerings. This is more a love that comes from the admiration of a group of men and women who obviously have a lot of respect for something we both equally hold dear: 2D gaming.WayForward doesn’t just create 2D games—it crafts them. That’s an im- portant distinction, and it’s part of the reason I had interest in Betrayal. When I heard the developer would be creat- ing a new 2D side-scrolling action title based around the BloodRayne fran- chise, I was curious; when I saw early screenshots and video, I was excited.I can’t mention anything about Be- trayal without first bringing up that ele- ment—the visuals—because no matter how entertaining or lackluster you end up finding the actual game to be, it’s what you see that will by far make the biggest initial impact. This game, in a word, is gorgeous. Gorgeous. With everywww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREW“This game, in a word, is gorgeous. Gorgeous.”attempt that I can make to assure youof my lack of baseless hyperbole, I can legitimately say that it’s hard to remem- ber the last time I was so impressed by a 2D game. Thankfully, it isn’t just the ar- tistic style of Betrayal’s character sprites and backgrounds that gives the game the sort of “interactive cartoon” feel that it possesses—the game’s level of anima- tion is also pleasantly high, an aspect that unfortunately often gets cut short due to the huge time requirements of quality hand-drawn artwork.Though I can’t say I’ve ever playeda 16-bit game that looked as good as BloodRayne: Betrayal, it reminded me of the glory days of my beloved Sega Gen- esis. Betrayal feels old-school—not in a clunky-and-cumbersome kind of way, but in that slicing-jumping-shooting- platforming-spike-dodging-boss-bat- tling kind of way. Even if you grew up in the post-polygon world of videogames, I think you can still have a lot of fun with what Betrayal has to offer. That said, I absolutely believe your appreciation for the game will increase the further back your history with videogaming goes.There’s another way in which BloodRayne: Betrayal exhibits a passion for the past—that classic “get good at the game or else” school of difficulty— and it’s here that I’m disappointed with some of WayForward’s decisions. Smallquirks in Rayne’s movement and jump- ing make her never feel quite as ac- curate as she should. For most of the game, this is a minor annoyance; once you get into Betrayal’s final batch of stages and are presented with some of the ridiculous platforming challenges contained within, the game can get downright brutal.chapters felt instead like punishment, something I had to endure in order to finally see the game’s ending.BloodRayne: Betrayal is thus frustrating in two ways: in terms of actual gameplay, and in terms of the overall product itself. If I’d only played the first 12 of Betrayal’s 15 stages, I’d have been able to recommend it withTHE GOODGreat action title blessed with beautiful spritesTHE BADA sadistic level of difficulty at timesTHE UGLYThe expletives I unleashed while playing the “No Birds” stagescore very little hesitation. Instead, 7.5 I must say that BloodRayne:Even if Rayne’s controlweren’t an issue, the deeperproblem with these final chal-lenges is that some of themsimply aren’t fun—they’re hardfor the sake of being hard, notfor the sake of being enjoyable. Difficulty should provide the player with the drive to get better and overcome the obstacle; playing Betrayal’s last fewBetrayal is a quality experience if you’re looking for a beautiful old-school-style action side- scroller—just, once you get deep into the game’s fourthquarter, please remember how much today’s controllers cost before hurling yours across the room.www.egmnow.comMORE SCREENSphotosACTION YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO Rayne hasan arsenal of moves she can use to dispatch foes— including biting them on the neck to refill her lifebar. REVIEW CREWCan’t be king of the world if you’re a slave to the grindPUBLISHERTHQDEVELOPERRELIC ENTERTAINMENTPLATFORMS360, PS3, PCPLAYERSSINGLE-PLAYER, 4-PLAYER CO-OP, 2-16 MULTIPLAYERRATINGM - MATURERELEASE DATE09.06.11WARHAMMER 40,000: SPACE MARINEby PAUL SEMELwww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWSince 1987, when it was created by Rick Priestley and Andy Chambers, the Warhammer 40,000 table-top role-playing games—and the videogames they’ve inspired—have presented an inter- esting mix of sci-fi, ’80s British fan- tasy, and a dash of Roman flavoring. Adorned in ornate armor, Space Ma- rines named Titus swing battle-axes and swords into the heads of orks (who are orcs that can’t spell) who’ve invaded the manufactorum. But those orks are alien, not Isengard- ian, the Marine’s armor has Halo-like shields, battle-axes and swords are often electrified, and everyone uses guns—regular, grenade-launching, and plasma-based.Which is why it’s odd that most Warhammer 40K videogames have been real-time strategy outings and not action offerings. But the third- person hack-and-slash/run-and-gun Space Marine rectifies that, albeit in a way that will satisfy only diehard War- hammer fanatics and players looking for a mindless grind.When orks attack the planet where humanity builds their warships, it’sup to you, as an Ultramarine named Captain Titus, to hold them at bay until the rest of the fleet arrives. To do this, you use both your trusty gun—or rather guns, since you have a bunch and keep getting new ones—and your trusty melee weapon. What’s handy is that Space Marines canwww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWseamlessly switch between the two and back again without a moment’s delay, allowing them to mix things up as the situation demands. So, you might blow away some guys as they’re running at you, then smack the ones who get too close for comfort.This happens more often than not, because unlike some sci-fi soldiers who duck for cover, Space Marines and their enemies prefer to get up close and per- sonal. So, it helps that while the melee combat’s of the button-mashing variety, some simple combos and special moves (stunning, execution) mix things up. You can also supercharge your melee attacks or do some Matrix-like slow-mo gunning with a brief use of Fury, an attack boost that’s replenished by killing enemies. Which you’ll do quite often.And therein likes the game’s big-gest problem: Your enemies typically rely more on quantity than quality and try to overwhelm you by attacking en masse. And it doesn’t help that the dif- ference between enemies usually just revolves around how many punches they can take before they fall down. Like with the orks, for example: Save for the big- gest of dudes, most aren’t very tough or smart (though, in fairness to the original mythos, they’re not supposed to be).As a result, this often feels like a Dy- nasty Warriors game; you’ll cut your way through throngs of enemies, with the only thing differentiating one engagement from another is whether you’re facing50 guys or 500. Even later in the game, when you’re fighting orks as well as moreskilled enemies, the battles are still more tests of your endurance than your reflex- es.pecially not if you’re in the right frame of mind. Anyone looking for some mindless hacking, slashing, and shooting will find this fits the bill, especially when played in short bursts—as will Warhammer 40,000 fans looking for more action than the ear- lier real-time strategy games provided.enemies, its locales—to be a bit tiresome after a while, as will players who are neither into Warhammer nor mindless combat. While Warhammer 40,000 may do an interesting job of mixing sci-fi, ’80s Britishfantasy, and Roman flavors, actually being a Space Marine is something of a grind.This sameness extends into thegame’s multiplayer modes—Annihilation,which is Team Deathmatch, and SeizeGround, which is a capture-point varia-tion—both of which are augmented withthe usual leveling-up and class systems.As you’d expect, they work as score advertised. There’s also On- 7.5 slaught, an equally adept four-player Horde-style survival co-op mode that adds occasionalcapture-point objectives to theformula, which will be availablein a month as a free DLC pack.THE GOODHow fluidly you can switch between melee weapons and gunsTHE BADIts simplicity is sometimes its undoingTHE UGLYIs that an ork,or are Shrek and Dobby trying to kill me?But even those devotees will find this game’s sameness—in its battles, itsNone of this should be taken to mean that Space Marine is a bad game—es-www.egmnow.comWATCH THE TRAILERvideoORIGINAL GANGSTAS Sure, Halomay have popularized the whole “Space Marine” motif— but, as its fans will always remind you, Warhammer invented it. REVIEW CREWThe original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness released in the summer of 2003—an entirely different gaming epoch, really. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, I hadn’t even landed my first post-college job at that point. Unemployed and penniless after freshly graduating amid the dot-com bust, I charged the Nippon Ichi strategy-RPGto my credit card—justifying the purchase as “research” for potential employmentin the game industry—and proceeded to pour over 100 hours into the experience, endlessly amused by its clever parodiesof Japanese RPGs and enthralled by the intricate strategy that saw my party leap into 100-floor dungeons inside weapons to level them up.I mention this simply because the gaming landscape’s changed wholesale in the time since the series debuted—Japan’s been literally and figuratively shaken by a massive earthquake and crippling recession. These days, my inclination isn’t to chuckle at Disgaea’s genre-tweaking gags but instead mourn the long list of favorite Japanese RPGs that have seemingly perished since its debut: Suikoden, Wild Arms, Breath of Fire, and so on...Maybe it’s appropriate, then, thatDisgaea 4: A Promise Unforgottenrevolves around a political theme. The story sees Valvatorez, a sardine-obsessed Prinny instructor—for the uninitiated, Prinnies are the series’ dopey, penguin- like mascots—who, like most Disgaea protagonists, is amusingly oblivious tohis place in the Netherworld and finds himself embroiled in a vast politicalconspiracy with the government. Or, in Disgaea’s naturally parodying parlance, the “corrupternment.” I don’t know if the problem lies in the original Japanese script or the localization—Disgaea’s obscure otaku parodies and linguistic puns are admittedly tough to translate— but I found myself less amused with this entry’s humor overall.what? It really doesn’t. At least not for me. Instead, it’s got the same cumbersome menus, the same tired classes, and the same sprites as it did in 2003. Sure, those sprites may finally be high-res in Disgaea 4—but the fact that it took until 2011 to reach that quality reveals a lot about the state of Japanese design these days.THE GOODThe series finally gets some high-res spritesTHE BADThey’re the same ol’ graphics... and menus...and classes...and...THE UGLYThe long list of dead Japanese RPGs Disgaea once parodiedEight years ago, overwrought Japanese score RPG narratives deserved aDisgaea’s core strategygameplay still entertains, though,and its wacked-out storytellingremains novel enough that you’llwant to keep playing to see whathappens next. And here’s thepart where you might expect meto say, “And, of course, Disgaea4 includes more than enough new tweaks to satisfy fans of the series.” But you know6.5scathing parody, and Disgaea delivered that in spades. Butthese days, it’s dated Japanese design decisions that need a good, swift kick in the pants— and on that end, Disgaea’s as guilty as anyone. In that sense,the go-to strategy-RPG parody has now become a parody of itself.www.egmnow.comMORE SCREENSphotosHIGH-RES HAVOCWith Disgaea finally embracing high-res sprites, the actionlooks as good as ever—but dated design elements drag the experience down. REVIEW CREWThe original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness released in the summer of 2003—an entirely different gaming epoch, really. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, I hadn’t even landed my first post-college job at that point. Unemployed and penniless after freshly graduating amid the dot-com bust, I charged the Nippon Ichi strategy-RPGto my credit card—justifying the purchase as “research” for potential employmentin the game industry—and proceeded to pour over 100 hours into the experience, endlessly amused by its clever parodiesof Japanese RPGs and enthralled by the intricate strategy that saw my party leap into 100-floor dungeons inside weapons to level them up.I mention this simply because the gaming landscape’s changed wholesale in the time since the series debuted—Japan’s been literally and figuratively shaken by a massive earthquake and crippling recession. These days, my inclination isn’t to chuckle at Disgaea’s genre-tweaking gags but instead mourn the long list of favorite Japanese RPGs that have seemingly perished since its debut: Suikoden, Wild Arms, Breath of Fire, and so on...Maybe it’s appropriate, then, thatDisgaea 4: A Promise Unforgottenrevolves around a political theme. The story sees Valvatorez, a sardine-obsessed Prinny instructor—for the uninitiated, Prinnies are the series’ dopey, penguin- like mascots—who, like most Disgaea protagonists, is amusingly oblivious tohis place in the Netherworld and finds himself embroiled in a vast politicalconspiracy with the government. Or, in Disgaea’s naturally parodying parlance, the “corrupternment.” I don’t know if the problem lies in the original Japanese script or the localization—Disgaea’s obscure otaku parodies and linguistic puns are admittedly tough to translate— but I found myself less amused with this entry’s humor overall.what? It really doesn’t. At least not for me. Instead, it’s got the same cumbersome menus, the same tired classes, and the same sprites as it did in 2003. Sure, those sprites may finally be high-res in Disgaea 4—but the fact that it took until 2011 to reach that quality reveals a lot about the state of Japanese design these days.THE GOODThe series finally gets some high-res spritesTHE BADThey’re the same ol’ graphics... and menus...and classes...and...THE UGLYThe long list of dead Japanese RPGs Disgaea once parodiedEight years ago, overwrought Japanese score RPG narratives deserved aDisgaea’s core strategygameplay still entertains, though,and its wacked-out storytellingremains novel enough that you’llwant to keep playing to see whathappens next. And here’s thepart where you might expect meto say, “And, of course, Disgaea4 includes more than enough new tweaks to satisfy fans of the series.” But you know6.5scathing parody, and Disgaea delivered that in spades. Butthese days, it’s dated Japanese design decisions that need a good, swift kick in the pants— and on that end, Disgaea’s as guilty as anyone. In that sense,the go-to strategy-RPG parody has now become a parody of itself.www.egmnow.comMORE SCREENSphotosHIGH-RES HAVOCWith Disgaea finally embracing high-res sprites, the actionlooks as good as ever—but dated design elements drag the experience down. REVIEW CREWPUBLISHERSEGADEVELOPERSEGAPLATFORMS360PLAYERSSINGLE-PLAYERRATINGM - MATURERELEASE DATE09.06.11Shamble like a zombie while fighting themRISE OF NIGHTMARESby RAY CARSILLOwww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWRise of Nightmares is touted as the first “hardcore” Ki- nect game, as it focuseson a single-player narra- tive instead of the all-ages fare of the party and fitness games we’ve seen to date. Josh, an American touriston vacation in Romania, is trying to put his marriage back together. While taking a train through the countryside, Josh and his wife get into yet another argument, and she storms off toward the dining car. Josh pursues her, but when he finally catches up, the un- imaginable’s waiting for him. A vile creature bearing more than a passing resemblance to Frankenstein’s mon- ster has Josh’s wife in its clutches, and as our hero starts to give chase, the train derails into a river. When Josh comes to, he and the other survivors discover a mansion in the woods—and his instincts say that whatever that thing was, it took his wife there.Rise of Nightmares might break ground as the first hardcore Kinect game, but it’s more limited by tech- nology than empowered by it. If you really want to set the mood and give yourself a scare by turning off the lights while playing, you can’t—the Kinect can’t see you. So, whether you like it or not, all the lights in the room have to stay on.Josh doesn’t have any guns at his disposal, so you’ve got to get up close and personal with nearly everywww.egmnow.com REVIEW CREWfoe you face. And, sure, it does feel satisfying to punch a zombie out with brass knuckles, bash what’s left of their brains in with a lead pipe, or dismember them with a bloody chainsaw. But given all the movement involved in setting yourself up for the kill, the game’s AIis beyond simple to prevent frustration with the Kinect controls. In turn, this nullifies the fear factor—you never feel like Josh is in any real danger most of the time when the zombies shuffle onto the screen. In fact, many zombies will simply shamble right into the path of whatever weapon you’re wielding; the larger challenge comes in keeping your real-life stamina up while mowing down the constant stream of proverbial cannon fodder.And this brings us to the fatigue fac- tor. Yes, the movements and combat controls are simplified, and Kinect picks them up rather well: shift your shoulders to turn around, stick one leg out to walk, and engage in various quick-time events“Although Rise of Nightmares was certainly different from any other gaming experience I’ve ever had, I can’t help but think I would’ve preferred having a traditional controller in my hands.”like ducking or climbing. But you might get worn out in the process—I sure did. After one three-hour session, my pivot leg’s knee locked up due to the constant weight I’d put on it as I explored the castle grounds.through a fresh cadaver, fishing through a blood-filled toilet for items, or luring zombies into some of the mansion’s traps—giant rotating blades or electrified water, to give two examples.score Although Rise of 7.0 Nightmares was certainlyTHE GOODThe first real “hardcore” game on KinectTHE BADFatigue from playing too long, no sense of real dangerTHE UGLYThe macabre clockwork zombies you’ll face by the dozensStill, the game’s actuallya solid experience overall.You could even write off the “shambling” of the zombiesto their macabre clockwork origins—even if they aren’t that threatening—and the plot’s engaging enough, with just enough cheesy B-movie voice acting to inspire you to push on with the story and uncover the mysteries lurking in the castle. You’ll also find some surprisingly satisfying moments sprinkled in, like diggingdifferent from any other gaming experience I’ve ever had, I can’t help but think I would’ve preferred having a traditional controller in myhands. If you’re looking to get some more use out of your Kinect, though, this is a fine example of the potential for the device. Developers just need to turn themselves away from the cheesy party and exercise games and really focus on giving players a gaming experience.www.egmnow.comWATCH THE TRAILERvideoRISE OF CONSOLES Rise of Nightmares might have been rightat home in arcades; unfortunately, much like the game’s villains, they’re the walking dead. REVIEW CREWBY STEVE HASKECONTRE JOUR HDDEVELOPER Chillingo8probably encountered contre-jour photography by its more common name: backlighting or silhouetting. In Chillingo’s Contre Jour, the technique’s as much of an aesthetic choice as itis integral to the gameplay, as your cyclopean avatar, Petit, looks to escape darkness through portals of light.This is easier said than done, since you can’t directly control Petit. Instead, you must manipulate the environment by shaping terrain, attaching Petitto elastic tentacles and making useof, say, slingshots as you attempt to engineer momentum from the often- treacherous levels.Contre Jour may seem like so much art jargon in its native French, but you’veInspired by Antoine de Saint- Exupéry’s The Little Prince, Contre Jour’s surreal atmosphere and plinking piano soundtrack may relax, but mastering this one’s tough. Accurately snapping Petit around often requires combinatory quick thinking and reflexes, but if you enjoy a challenge with your visual stimuli, you might view this as quite the objet d’art.Contre Jour’s surreal atmosphere and plinking piano soundtrack may relax, but mastering this one’s tough.www.egmnow.com UGLY AMERICANS: APOCALYPSEGEDDONThose familiar with the Comedy Central show will instantly fall in love with most aspects of this downloadable title—but non- fans need not apply.BODYCOUNTSuffers from a short campaign and very limited multiplayer options. Not a bad game—but more suited for a weekend rental.7.56.56.08.59.59.58.57.57.57.07.07.57.07.56.5107.56.57.56.09.08.08.07.57.0MADDEN NFL 12Rushed, unpolished, and frequently underwhelming,this is not the Madden product we’ve come to expect over the years.DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTIONArtful, adult, and awesome in ways that few games dare tobe, Revolution is an excellent blueprint for ambitious RPGs to follow. If cyberpunk is your thing, you have to play it.INSANELY TWISTED SHADOW PLANETAn old-school action romp that impresses with its simple-yet- engrossing gameplay.BASTIONCasual dungeon crawlers finally have a suitable option with this gorgeous, immersive downloadable RPG.CATHERINEAtlus’ first HD game mixes puzzle-solving with social elements to produce a mature, engrossing tale of love and lust.CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIERA must-have for fans of the Sentinel of Liberty, as you wield his shield like never before.SHADOWS OF THE DAMNEDThis irreverent throwback with obvious Resident Evil ties isn’tfor everyone—but, as an old- school alternative, Shadows has a lot to offer.DUKE NUKEM FOREVERAn old-school shooter with a few modern twists and a num- ber of flaws. Sure to satisfy Duke fans but very few others.EL SHADDAI: ASCENSION OFTHE METATRONThe art sometimes gets in the way of the gameplay, but this weird, wild Japanese take on Biblical Apocrypha is well worth exploring.TRENCHEDYet another solid downloadable title from Double Fine, but while Trenched makes for a decent evening of gaming, it lacks true staying power.TRANSFORMERS:DARK OF THE MOON Transformers fans should give this one a shot, but others should look elsewhere for their third-person- shooter fix.ALICE: MADNESS RETURNSSpicy Horse flirts with greatness here, but only forgiving gamers will immerse themselves in Alice’s world gone mad.CHILD OF EDENThe spiritual successor to Dreamcast favorite Rez—though it also evokes that game’s archaic elements.PORTAL 2Valve has devised yet another masterstroke that toys with both you and your co-op partner’s expectations.NO MORE HEROES:HEROES’ PARADISEMaintains all of the original’s hu- mor, style, and charm—but it fails to fix the mistakes.FRUIT NINJA KINECTJust as fun as the smartphone app, but it isn’t worth the bloated price.SECTION 8: PREJUDICEBalances the great multiplayer of the first Section 8 with a solid-but-short single-player experience.BLEACH:SOUL RESURRECCIÓNA serviceable hack-n-slash that will likely only appeal to Bleach fans.inFAMOUS 2Sucker Punch avoids the sopho- more slump while delivering an immensely playable tale of salva- tion and discovery.OPERATION FLASHPOINT:RED RIVERLook past the occasional AI pathfinding glitches, and you’ll genuinely dig into this incredibly demanding title.RED FACTION: ARMAGEDDONIn a year with so many shooters but very few good ones, Arma- geddon manages to be fun be- cause it has fun with the genre’s building blocks.L.A. NOIRENo GTA-style anarchy here, but amateur gumshoes looking for a tense, cerebral action game should investigate.BLAZBLUE: CONTINUUM SHIFT IIArc System Works’ latest offers a sound 3DS fighting experi- ence, even if the ergonomics leave something to be desired. GAME OVER“The barbarianswon’t tear down the walls of Xbox and turn it into some chaotic wasteland.”— Gabe Newell,managing director, Valve CorporationLESSINDUSTRY WIRES CROSSED ON CROSS-PLATFORM NETWORK PLAYWhether it’s distribution or software, Valve’s widely known for blazing trails in the gaming industry— but we’ve gotta admit that head honcho Gabe Newell’s swinging for the fences with his latest attempt at innovation. In a recent chat with Eu- rogamer, Newell made it clear that his sights are squarely set on gaming behemoth Microsoft’s draconian policy on cross-platform play. Newell’s team is currently hard at work on Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, and thanks to Microsoft’s desire to keep it in the family, things look grim for a face- off between Xbox gamers and the less-restricted crowds on PC, Mac, and PS3. Newell may not make headway against the Grumpy Green Giant, but we’re glad to see someone calling a spade a spade here—post-sale bickering that limits our ability to face the best players in the world seems like an equation in which everyone loses.www.egmnow.com ADVERTISEMENT Insert Search Text