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The past week has been awesome gaming for me. With the release of Bad Company(been a long time fan of the franchise), reading up on some Star Wars Unleashed info, and now after Blizzard hinted at it during the week Diablo 3 was announced at the worldwide invitational.

I am incredibly excited for the pc gaming lineup because I’ve grown up on Starcraft and Diablo, and eventually evolving into World of Warcraft. But, to me Diablo has been the staple of the company until it created the omega World of Warcraft game that over 10 million of us gamers feel in love with. So now, with the information that is coming from the Diablo news release, I will post some facts known about the upcoming game below.  About the only thing I am concerned about after watching the videos is what kind of hardware you need to handle this type of game.  Other than that, I’ll be emmersed back into the world of Diablo, and will have a much needed break from the WoW universe.

Things Known:

  • The game takes places 20 years after the second Diablo ended.
  • The Sanctuary will be an evolving 3-d world.
  • Multiplayer again will be a staple of the game over the newly created Battle.Net portals.
  • The game will be powered by the Havoc Physics system.
  • New character: Witch Doctor
  • Interactive Environments

Screen Shots:

Male Witch Doctor

Female Witch Doctor

Summoned Beast

Known Video Links:

http://www.wegame.com/watch/Diablo_3_Gameplay_6_29_08/

More information to come…

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I cannot tell you how pumped I am for this game. I’ll admit, when I was a kid I loved Star Wars. I hate the new movies except for the part where Vader becomes Vader. In all honesty I actually just watched Anakin become Vader on youtube haha.

The video games have always been topsy turvy with me. The battlefield games, where they were online only and for consoles kicked major ass. Other than that, I really didn’t care, but this game looks amazing.

The Force Unleashed is a game about being the new “apprentice” and learning how to master your powers. It’s just awesome, because I always liked the darker side of the force as a kid. I’m pretty excited that you start out as Darth Vader, with all the awesome tricks and powers at your disposal. The cinematic appeal of this game alone is worth it. Everything has been voiced over as well as the acting. The story is said to have a polished feel, and have multiple twists to keep you entertained. I can’t hardly wait.

The physics engine of the game is outstanding. The euphoria engine is bliss, and runs smooth. If you need an example of how it plays, just pop in GTA4. I really am amazed at how far technology has come, and am anxiously waiting to see how the AI reacts when you force grab them and dangle them in the air like a rag doll. Each AI apparently reacts different and can grab onto objects and hold onto them even suspended in the air.

Well, that is about all the info I have for you today. Below this little article, is the trailer for the game. Enjoy it, for it is pure awesome.

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Well, another great time of the year is upon us.  Football season is weeks away, and the rumors start flying all around.  Fantasy football gets kicked into high gear with research upon research of stats, players, teams, thougts, etc. etc.  I found a website today here, that lists the project team rankings as well as screen shots of the teams roster pages.  Found below you will find the rankings if you would like to stay here(I encourage), provide some insight on how you feel the teams were ranked and so on. Rankings are as follows:

Patriots 97
Cowboys 96
Chargers 95
Colts 95
Giants 94
Steelers 94
Jaguars 93
Packers 91
Eagles 91
Bucs 91
Vikings 90
Browns 88
Redskins 88
Seahawks 87
Saints 87
Panthers 86
Broncos 84
Titans 84
Bills 82
Ravens 81
Bengals 80
Bears 80
Cardinals 78
Texans 78
Lions 78
Rams 77
Jets 76
49ers 72
Chiefs 71
Raiders 71
Falcons 67
Dolphins 67

Is it any surprise that New England is on top?  It looks like a pretty accurate stance on ratings to me.  However I feel that the Jet’s with the stronger line they have brought in this year, should have a few points higher, but oh well ya give and take.   Well, it’s a small update to the site, but it provides some nice incite to the series that all sports gamers oogle over.

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Shine them shoes boys and gals.  Were going dancing.  The Penguins totally abused the Flyers yesterday to capture the Eastern Conference Title and wrote in their spot for the Cup finals.  Up until game time, you could tell here in PIttsburgh, the only thing people were thinking about was the time, when the game started, and everything other than those two things didn’t really matter.  Because, at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon the Penguins went on to extinguish the Flyers dreams of making it to the Final Round of the playoffs.

Ray Shero looks like a freaking Genius with the trades he pulled off this year.  Hossa and Dupuis have been making plays left and right, while the U.S.S Gill has been hunkering down the defensive lines.  The Western conference seems a little cloudy as to who the more dominant team is.  Detroit has given up two games to Dallas, and hasn’t been able to clinch that series ending win just yet.  They’ll try and finish it up tonight and try and advance to the Finals.

Dallas, has shown decent play at times, Marty Turco is a machine in net when he is on.  Detroit however, has let me down because I thought they would be smoking Dallas after going up three games.  But with the loss of Franzen, it makes me wonder, is their age finally showing up?  You can only get as far as your goalies can take you.  Marty has been playing out of his mind, as well as our Marc-Andre Fleury.

I think Detriot ranks among the best, except I just don’t trust their Goalies, Osgood looks as if he is slipping at the wrong time in the play-offs, and Hasek was pulled early in the play-off first series.   So surely confidence is a question mark for him.

Honestly, if it comes down to Detroit and Pittsburgh, It’s going to be one star studded series that probably won’t dissapoint.  But either way…. I’ll take my Pens in 6.  Also come join us at our new Forums page.  The link is right here http://www.clayton-nichols.com/forum/phpBB3

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Ok, let me start off by saying this will not be a total fan boy review because a lot of people out there live and die by MLB: The Show for ps2 and ps3. I too, lived by MLB The Show, ever since it came out for ps2 and loved every second of it, but when I jumped systems to Xbox 360(due to price at the time) I was no longer able to represent the game because it was only for the Sony product. Which this year leads me to buying MLB 2K8. I just recently purchased my 360 around Christmas time, so buying sports games from previous years hasn’t really ever been my thing, so I just decided to wait until March 3rd to get the newest release.

I am going to admit, ever since this buyout of sports rights contracts, I think it has been bad for the most part on the gaming community. I wish there were still multiple games from different companies because it forced other game producers to be innovative. If you play sports games you know I’m talking about the Baseball and Football franchises the most. Madden only brings in few options every year as well as MLB: The Show, which makes it difficult to swallow spending 60 bucks possibly more if your buying the special editions each year, but this isn’t about originality and innovation in games, I’m just venting because I would love to see far strides taken to make the best game possible instead of the same game with flashy new logo’s and older teams/jerseys.

GAME PLAY

Let’s move on to 2k8. I bought this game because I love baseball, I have been playing all my life and enjoy watching and learning all I can about the sport. I have been bored in the past with baseball games because it’s always been the same press the buttons to pitch, bat, and field. MLB 2k8 is the game that has tried to break those boundaries this year by installing the new flick stick pitching, flick stick batting controls, and flick stick fielding. I was highly surprised by reading how it worked and skeptical about how sensitive the controls would be. I started the game and decided to play a couple of exhibition games and decided to play as the Pirates(yes they suck, but there my team), and picked the Royals to play against.

Upon starting the game the loading scenes are nice and informative providing all the usual baseball information and so on and so on with commentary that provides insight to the last season, what needs to be done to win the game and who needs to come through during the game. During the loading screen time there were some drastic Frames Per Second drops that made animations and panning of the stadium seem choppy and slow. It was purely an aesthetic fault so it won’t hurt game play for now. However it does reoccur during games, and I’ll explain later.

I will start with the pitching aspect of this game as it has been improved upon from last years game, by introducing the right analog stick control system. Ian Snell(the Pirates supposed ace pitcher), was the starter and it all went downhill from there. Right away with the new controls, I threw three meatballs(thats what they call them when they are bad pitches with the new controls) and gave up three home runs. The new pitching system has a some what high learning curve if your not used to using the right analog stick. I had prior experience with the game EA Skate and it still took awhile to figure out how to do everything smoothly. After, going down by 5 runs in the first inning I managed to get out of it with a little bit of dignity and stop the bleeding. Pitching has been changed in such a great and challenging way that it makes the MLB 2k8 franchise a refreshing simulation of baseball. I really enjoyed that when the bases are loaded or its the bottom of the ninth and your up by one, depending on how well your pitcher’s composure is, the ball target will shake and it will be harder to place a pitch where you want. Your also able to control the game more by throwing how an actual pitcher is supposed to pitch, keep it low and hope for pop-ups and ground outs, and as your pitcher gets tired he is also highly likely to give up meatballs and home runs. My only gripe with this new system is that it is incredibly sensitive at times to target where you want the pitch the ball, because depending on how shaky your hand is on the right analog stick the ball moves with it on the slightest movement. I wish it was set so that if you moved the ball to a certain selection it would stay in that spot and you could then concentrate on winding up and releasing with the new controls. But that wouldn’t be any fun or add to realism, and I completely understand why they did it.

Fielding has also been improved a significant amount compared to other games I have played. Once the ball is hit it’s up to you to move to the ball spot as usual, the added twists are pretty nice. If its a ball where your supposed to dive, the player will dive on his on and either knock it down, or it will go through. I like this because it takes away from hitting extra buttons, it just makes it as simple as it is unique. Also, another new thing added is that when a ball is hit to the outfield, if your outfielder turns his back on the ball the ball drop locater either gets smaller or dissapears depending on the outfielders vision on the ball. That’s pretty cool, and throwing with the analog stick has been a nice addition to the game, as you just point in the direction and let the power bar load up and release and the ball is on its way. The load bar is less sensitive as well as throwing to bases and it makes it another pretty nice addition. A few gripes but nothing to dramatic is sometimes you end up running into other players because even if its hit into right field the center fielder will sprint right next to you and try to make the catch. You can call him off, but its not really realistic for a center fielder to try and make a catch in right field, unless its a shot up the gap. Also, I can’t stand how its pretty easy to catch pop-ups if your not near it or the computer isn’t near it. If it’s a shot up the gap I have had instances when outfielders have super human strength and catch the ball without having to break a sweat. It reminded me of the old Madden game play that no matter what if no one was around the receiver, the ball would still get intercepted because someone would sprint and make an insane catch. I hated that, and I hate it here, it just drops realism a little bit.

Batting also has been changed, the swing stick has been introduced and works nicely. To hit the ball you must pull back to lift the foot then push forward to swing. It’s a quirky, little control, but I think it needs a little more work. Often, at the start you get the hang of it right away, but then as you change sides for different batters, the vision of the plate moves to the side and instead of being right on with the pitcher your off and it’s difficult to adjust to see where the pitch is. Add that to stepping and swinging and it turns into luck hitting, because seeing whether its going to be a ball or strike is difficult at an angle. I like the new addition, but I just don’t think its there yet.

GRAPHICS

This is where MLB 2K8 runs into a lot of trouble. Every thing is fine while pitching, batting, and fielding per say. But the in between times with cut scenes, right after the ball was hit and it changes from batters box to infield, and when the fielders throw it, the FPS drop and chug and drastically drop the appeal visually of the game. Everything happens after the fact so really theres not much trouble, but it really is disheartening that 2K sports would release a game in this state. It has been addressed by 2K as something thats a major problem, and is being worked on for an upcoming patch. The bad news about that, if you don’t have an XBOX live Gold Membership, your not getting the patch. That’s a huge let down to spend money and have to pay more money to fix corrections. But all in all if you can live with slowdown you’ll be fine, as it doesn’t affect game play, only after the actions have been taken. Aside from the slow down, the game is beautiful and crisp, from the blades of grass to the players. Only thing thats still clunky are the fans. Were in next gen phase, do they still have to look like boxes put together?

SOUND

Sound is decent, it’s crisp and clear again, they have everything down pat with how a baseball sounds with the exception of quiet umpires and player chatter. You can hear the vendors and fans, but I just miss hearing the umpire yell an over down YOUR OUT! or STRIKE THREE! I think that takes away from realism as much as the next thing. But, you can certainly live and enjoy it without all of that.

EXTRAS

With all of the new stuff added it’s more of the same with modes, rosters, and the usual. Another major problem that has come up is that if your a Padre’s fan, get used to a buggy franchise because thats apparently the only team that has a problem. You can’t send players up/down from majors to minors, in franchise mode, also a problem that is getting patched so hold tight if you have Live. Help is on the way.

Overall

I enjoy this game, I own this game, and I am proud to say I like this game. I do not care for the slow down and anxiously awaiting the patch to correct this problem. I think the controls are new and innovative, as well as adding re playability to a game that was once sore and boring to me. If your an avid baseball fan and can’t live without up to date rosters, graphics, and all that jazz then pick it up. If your on the fence about trading in an older baseball game that you love, just keep it, and wait till next year, or until it’s patched. Once the game is patched, it’s an awesome simulation to baseball and will certainly give MLB: The Show a run for its money. The only thing that seriously worries me is that if EA buys 2K Sports, I hope they learn something from this game and advance it to where it should be. I don’t want another cheap knockoff every year with the same controls, graphics and everything. This game right now even in a buggy state, reigns supreme in my mind, and hope I EA takes care of things and advances the baseball genre and football genre further than before.

Presentation- 7.5/10

Graphics- 8/10

Sound- 7.5/10

Gameplay- 8/10

Overall- 7.8/10

MLB 2K8

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