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Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Game Description: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is an explosive open-world action game set in a massive, highly reactive, war-torn world. When a power-hungry tyrant messes with Venezuela's oil supply he sparks an invasion that turns the country into a war zone. But for you, international crisis is all upside: You are a mercenary, and you profit from chaos. You are not a soldier. You don't have to play by anyone's rules. You have your own code: you will fulfill the terms of the contract, no matter what. If you see it, you can buy it, steal it, or blow the living crap out of it. Play your own way, or play with the help of a friend in the new co-op multiplayer mode.

Fallout 3: Absolute hell on productivity

The last few days have been absolute hell on my productivity. Fallout 3 was just released, and pretty much everything else going on has been put on indefinite hold while I make my way through the irradiated wastelands.

To be brutally honest, the game didn't make a strong first impression with me once I actually had the disc. I wasn't the biggest fan of Bethesda's Oblivion, and the first day or so spent in post-apocalyptic D.C. is guaranteed to seem like nothing so much as Oblivion with guns.

Wii, PS3 used in therapy for kids with cerebral palsy

A case study conducted by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and published in the October 2008 issue of the American Physical Therapy Association's journal found that when a teenage boy with cerebral palsy played Wii Sports as part of his regular therapy, "there were positive outcomes at the impairment and functional levels," according to the abstract.

While I couldn't find a full-text version of the article, SpecialKids.com reports on the study in more detail:

[T]he patient was a 13-year-old male with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. In a school-based setting, he participated in 11 training sessions, over a four-week period, using the Wii while continuing to receive physical and occupational therapy. The sessions were each between 60 and 90 minutes long and used the Wii sports games software, which offers boxing, tennis, bowling, and golf. He trained in both standing and sitting positions.
“ 'Improvements in visual-perceptual processing, postural control, and functional mobility were measured after training,'” the researchers reported.

The Horror Geek presents: Burn, Zombie Burn! Headed to PlayStation Network

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I still don't own a PlayStation 3. I'm one of those guys who picks up every console in every generation--then when something exclusive releases, I don't have to give a crap. The PS3, though, has remained a bit out of my price range and didn't have anything I was dying to play for quite awhile. That's changing now (well, not the price part, but the games I want to play half) with MGS4, Disgaea 3, and now, Burn, Zombie Burn!

Looking at the screenshots for this title, the first thing that pops into my head is "damn, this looks like a next-gen version of Zombies Ate My Neighbors"--which was a great 16-bit era game that appeared on the SNES and Genesis.

The Horror Geek presents: Dead Space sequel, movie, and tie-ins in the works

 Dead Space Screenshot 

Although the game's only been out a little over a week, EA's Dead Space is already generating a lot of "potential franchise" buzz. Variety's Ben Fritz posted some tantalizing morsels in his blog, The Cut Scene, earlier this week.

Speaking to EA Games label President Frank Gibeau and Dead Space executive producer Glenn Schoefield, here are the highlights:

Schoefield confirmed that EA is "talking to movie studios right now" about the prospects of the game becoming a feature film. It should be noted that there's an animated film, Dead Space: Downfall, already slated for release.

The producer added that EA and a publishing partner are "talking about Dead Space novels as well as a line of toys".

Finally, he also mentioned that a Dead Space sequel was already in the works. Judging by the early fan response to the game, this is good news.

To read more of the blog (including news about sequels to Army of Two and Battlefield: Bad Company), head on over here.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 1

Welcome to the premiere episode of the GameCritics.com Podcast!
This week's topics include:

  • Reviews of Saints Row 2 and Art Style: Cubello
  • Why game criticism matters to us
  • Can games make us cry?

Download: Right click here and select "Save Target As..."
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Please send questions for a future mailbag segment to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

The terrible secret of my GTA IV review!

When I gave Grand Theft Auto IV the insultingly low score of 85%, quite a few people suggested that I had some kind of a secret grudge against the game that kept me from giving it the glowing adoration that it so obviously deserved. Well, I'm finally ready to admit that yes, I did have a secret predjudice against the game, one that I'll reveal through the medium of crudely-edited video:

I doubt I can be much clearer than that.

Mega Man 9 Review

The 8-Bit Blue Bomber is Back!

Read review of Mega Man 9

HIGH Playing a game that was designed correctly to be a true challenge.

LOW I miss the slide feature of later Mega Man games (and a downloadable character does not count!)

WTF Finally figuring out how to use the Black Hole Bomb correctly! It took me way too long...

Breaking News: The PS3 was meant to play video games

So the PS3 isn't the best Blu-ray player on the market? I'm confused. Seriously though, Sony has a major branding problem when the head of Sony Computer Entertainment, Kaz Harai, makes headlines for reminding the public that the PS3 is actually a machine that allows people to control images on screen and have fun!

Here's what Harai said in an interview with Japanese business website NB Online (translated by Kotaku):

"The thing that I did when I took over last year was to boast the appeal of games themselves... The main premise of the PS3 is video games. That's the absolutely most important thing that we cannot lose sight of."

After this year's E3, I wrote a blog post about how Sony lacked a strong vision for the PS3 in the market and with this sound-bite from Harai, it doesn't look like much has changed since then. The problem may be that Sony as a whole, had too much invested and at stake with the PS3 to allow it to simply be a game machine. They needed it to be so much more, but now that the PS3 isn't the monster success that the PS2 was based off the same technology-from-the-future branding, Sony is backtracking and trying to put more emphasis on the games. Just what the heck has Sony been up to all these years?

Unfortunately, you only a one chance to make a first impression and then its an uphill battle to get people to think otherwise. Is it too late for the PS3?

LittleBigPlanet beta, hard work for a little bit of fun

Little Big Planet - sackpeople skateboard

I got my greedy paws on a key for the Little Big Planet (LBP) beta, which I had the opportunity to play over the last weekend. All in all, I'd have to say... not bad. (Bonus points if you know the movie in which Lisa Luder said those words.)

"Not bad." Which is not the praise that Sony and Playstation 3 owners everywhere would like too see bestowed upon this key video game, a unique entry and selling point as we go into the fourth quarter of 2008.

Although I had mixed feelings during my time with the beta, it was after discussing them with (our very own) Brad that they solidified into something I could concretely describe. Is LBP a game I want to spend $60 and countless hours of my limited free time exploring? I'm a generally creative guy. I like to sing, write music, draw or write in my free time. (Depending on my artistic mode and inertia at any given moment.) This game initially spoke to me as a good outlet to make things that I can share with the PS3-owning world. Yet after playing the beta for a while, I have some doubts.

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