Friday, September 28, 2007

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men New Gameplay

Jeux France has luckily provided us with a new video for Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. Enjoy the watch.

[Via Jeux France]

GameTrailers: FIFA Soccer 08 Review

GameTrailers loves to do video reviews (hmm, I wonder why). Today they have for us a review of EA Sport's FIFA Soccer 08. Their final thoughts:
Design: 9/10
Gameplay: 8.7/10
Presentation: 7.6/10
Overall: 8.8/10
To get all the facts and faults and pros of the game, watch the review above.

[Via GameTrailers]

Killzone 2 Developer Blog: Gremlins In the System

Frank Compagner, Senior Programmer over at Guerrilla Games has a new blog up. It looks like approx. 150 people are working on Killzone 2 right now and Frank blogs about how sometimes, the everyday hardware that he works with is being sabotaged by gremlins.

Hi there. My name is Frank. What's yours? Er, sorry, I still need to get the hang of this blog thing. I'll be the resident programmer on our squad, and as such I'm going to be pretty technical from time to time. Because I like getting technical. A lot. But not to worry, I'll try to keep things interesting for anybody curious about what it takes to get a game like Killzone 2 out the door.

Now, being paid to work on games definitely isn't the Walhalla you might think it is, but I'll tell you one thing: it ain't boring. Working on a game as big as Killzone 2 we get to have problems that few people have even thought about. All new and shiny problems, just waiting to be unwrapped so they can jump on us and make our lives miserable. One of the biggest problems we have is dealing with the sheer amount of data that's going into the game. There's about 150 people working very hard on the game right now and they're producing an ever increasing amount of high detailed models, animations, textures, audio samples and what not. All of this data goes into the central database (we use Perforce, which is a great tool, but does have its own peculiarities).

This all mostly works fine, but whenever somebody decides to do a "GetLatest" on his working files, he gets the combined effort of the other 149 people on the team copied to his computer. This can easily mean several Gigabytes of new data, which takes a considerable amount of time to download. During the download, the files on your hard disk are unlikely to be in a consistent state, so you basically have to stop working for the duration. This sucks, and we need to find a way to speed up the process, which is what I've been trying to do for the last few weeks.

We're already planning to replace our Windows32/NTFS server with a Linux64/XFS one. The new hardware has just arrived (I find myself strangely excited when looking at the rack mounted, all-black box filled with 15k rpm drives, should I seek help?), and now we need to configure it and find out how we're going to get the whole 3.5TB of our database safely onto the new server. And because few people have dealt with stuff like this, there isn't much advice to go on. This means lots of testing to make sure the server is running as fast as it can.

So I'm right in the middle of yet another test to determine the best configuration for our new Perforce server, when I get a call from my twelve year old son. He's in a panic, and I'm starting to get a little concerned, when I manage to calm him down enough to find out that the crisis is not, in fact, as life threatening as he initially made it out to be. He's recently picked up a nasty Civ IV addiction (I wonder where's he got that from), and he's just been invaded by his seemingly trustworthy neighbors, the Mongols. So now he needs my advice on how best to counter the threat. I do my best, but let me tell you: playing a game of Civ over the phone isn't the way that Sid intended. So I have to leave him fending for himself, while I finish the tests to determine the optimal size of the stripe set for the new RAID array that will hold our Perforce database (8KB seems to do the job best, but it's a close call). By the time I get home that evening his situation has deteriorated markedly, but after dinner we sit down together, and in an hour or so manage to recapture the lost ground. In an overly optimistic mood I promise him he won't have to go to bed until we crush the Hun. To his dismay, this decision is overturned another hour later by his mother when we get bogged down in a protracted fight for the Mongol capital. Still, with some more words of advice from me, he's able to finish the job himself the next day, and continues to score a space race win. Next difficulty level, please.

But back to Perforce performance. It turns out we have another gremlin lurking in our system: client-side disk fragmentation. The way that Perforce writes new files to disk under NTFS results in lots of disk fragmentation. Especially when dealing with large files (check) on disks with little free space (double check). We're working with Perforce to improve this, but that will still take a while. In the meantime we need to figure out how to improve the situation now. Really, it never gets boring when you're as obsessed with computers and performance as much as I am.

Next time: The joys of assert (woo, bet you're excited now!)

We would of gave you a short version, but it seems everytime you access the site you have to go through the whole age verification process and what not and find it yourself. But now you don't have to.

[Via Killzone]

Rock Band's Character Customization

One thing Guitar Hero lacked was character creation and customization. Rock Band has it though, and we have the video above. Enjoy.

[Via GameVideos]

Haze: Weird Rumble Advertisement

A weird advertisement for HAZE showed up on GameTrailers today. The advertisement shows them injecting nectar into the DUALSHOCK 3 and it rumbles, as they say "Amazing!". Weird commercial. At the end it says "Exclusively for PlayStation 3".

[Via GameTrailers]

PixelJunk Racers: GameSpot Reviews 7.0/10

In an odd turn of events, GameSpot has given PixelJunk Racers an alright score. They rate it a 7.0/10.0 stating:

"PixelJunk Racers is a neat little game that takes the basic concepts of slot car racing and applies them to a multitude of minigame-like events that you can play alone or against friends. There are a good number of different events, though the addition of a few more tracks and online multiplayer would have made it a much longer-lasting collection."
Read the full review at the link.

[Read: PixelJunk Racers Review]

Burnout Paradise: Steel Wheels Trailer HD

If you're ready to hit the racetrack in style, look no further than this armor-plated, super-charged master of the road, Burnout Paradise, in HD glory.

[Via GameTrailers]

Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion War Brave Story Trailer

Here is a new trailer for the upcoming Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion War. This is the Brave Story trailer, the story can now be told.

[Via GameTrailers]

TGS 2007: Characters and Online Interview HD

A Soul Calibur IV video from the Tokyo Game Show 2007. It explains the online play and if it will we be seeing characters from other franchises.

[Via GameTrailers]

MX vs. ATV: Untamed Trailer HD

Start your engines for a video trailer of MX vs. ATV: Untamed for the PlayStation 3 and other consoles. The video is in HD glory, so enjoy.

[Via GameTrailers]

US Online PlayStation Store Under Maintenace?

A new URL discovered by a member of the Official PlayStation Boards shows that an online PlayStation Store for the US may be in the works. The link ( shows no sign of a Japan remark, so this may be valid. More on this when it comes.

[View: "PlayStation Store"]
[Via PlayStation Boards]

NBA 2K8: Dunk Contest Videos

IGN is providing us with three dunking hot videos of NBA 2K8's Slam Dunk contest. I am personally a big fan of the 2K series, and the Dunk Contest is a great new addition. I could remember the fun times I had in V3's Dunk Contest, but this looks even better. Enjoy the videos.

[Buy: NBA 2K8 (PS3)]
[Buy: NBA 2K8 (PS2)]

Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess: Trailer HD

In the newest trailer for Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess, the Crystal War has begun, and the Champions of the Dawn have taken the stage. Enjoy the watch.

[Via GameTrailers]

Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning from TGS 2007 Trailer

I guess when we are itching for the full Tokyo Game Show 2007 trailer for Final Fantasy XIII & Final Fantasy Versus XIII, any little image that pops up from the trailer is important.

Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII protagonist) seems to be jumping and doing some kind of spin in this picture. Very poor quality, but something at least. Here are the other two in case you missed them:

[Via Spiras Destiny]

Official PlayStation Magazine: Pro Evolution 2008 Review Scans

If your a frequent reader of onAXIS, you already know that Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 received a 9/10 from the Official PlayStation Magazine of the UK. Well, now we have scans along with the article in text. Enjoy.

A member of 360Indians was crazy enough (kudos) to type out the review in text. Read below:

Before we get into the red hot review, first you need to answer a question: what do you actually want from PES on PS3? Startling levels of graphical beauty? Gameplay redefined by stunningly innovative new features? Free kicks that go in without every star in heaven having to be in precise alignment? Okay. Stop waving your hands around. You’re not getting any of that. PES 2008 is a surprisingly conservative game. This is actually Konami’s second shot at next-gen football, the first being last year’s pretty underwhelming Xbox 360 version. The DNA of that game provides the building blocks for this one, but – don’t panic – the team of footballing alchemists led by Shingo “Seabass” Takatsuba has made subtle but vital improvements across the board. The result is a game that doesn’t have any one feature that screams next-gen, but is beautifully balanced overall.

Assuming the last version you played was PES6 on PS2, the first thing you’ll notice here is how much slower it seems. Hold RI and the speed at which your player runs feels oddly heavy-legged. But the initial adjustment to a newer version of PES is always awkward because you’re so used to the precise timing and rhythm of the older game. Once you settle in, the thinking behind the more considered pace becomes clear, and after a few days it stops seeming strange at all. More than ever before, this year’s PES is designed to simulate the way real football works. Watch a top-flight game and you won’t see the players sprinting from box to box for 90 minutes. Likewise, the emphasis in 2008 is on controlling the game, retaining possession and teasing out chances. The shift in style feels comparable to the difference the high-energy play you associate with the Premier League and the technical, cultured approach of the Champions League.

That’s not to say that the dribbling element has been hamstrung, although the spongier triggers on the SIXAXIS do make cutting in with R2 much harder to pull off. Used judiciously, dribbling is still an effective way of unlocking defences – but it works best when you mix up your play, pinging passes around and then powering into the spaces you’ve opened up. One of the key new elements is the increased physicality and momentum of the players. They take more time to turn, especially when running flat-out, and also need more time to get the ball under control - sometimes frustratingly so – but when you beat your marker, he’s likely to stay beaten because once your body is between player and ball unless he’s incredibly quick he’ll struggle to get around you to make a challenge. The result is that strong players like Rooney and Drogba can shrug off attempted tackles, bouncing opponents onto their backsides as they surge forward. As a desperate measure, trailing defenders can claw at the forward’s shirt. There’s a good chance they’ll concede a foul, but it could be worth it to kill a dangerous break before it develops. (Mourinho nods approvingly)

Tackling as a whole has been made harder in order to compensate for the fact that dribbling now takes more skill. The step-in tackle now needs to be lined up and timed more carefully, the sliding tackle really is the last throw of the defensive dice. Unless executed immaculately, you’re likely to either miss completely leaving the target free to burst past, or end up clattering him and doing your best ‘who me?’ face as the ref reaches into his pocket. Still, when you get it right - wrapping a leg around to take the ball like a gentleman thief – it’s almost as satisfying as scoring. Goals are, of course, the most precious commodity in PES. One of the key differences between PES and FIFA has always been the incredible variety of ways to score. Glancing headers, arrowed volleys, scuffed tap-ins, long-range thunderbolts, precise sidefoots…each goal is unique. You have to work for them. They light up otherwise scruffy, niggly games and provide the gloss finish to sweeping attacks. They make you howl and the ineptitude of your defending and jump up when a last-second winner flies in. And if all that sounds evangelical, well, no apologies. Scoring in PES is an addictive rush. It’s why you save the truly great goals and watch them back again and again.

The shooting system has been tweaked slightly, but still relies on a dizzying combination of factors: the ability of a player on the ball, his body shape as he strikes it, pressure from defenders, and so on. For optimal accuracy and power, you need to time the shot so it falls on the player’s favoured foot, watching his running animation so that he takes the ball in his stride and easing off the run button at the last second so he can set himself. Of course, you don’t really think about that kind of stuff while you’re playing. It’s something that becomes instinctive the more you play. This year, it’s marginally easier to get power into the shot and hit the target from tighter angles. To cope with the additional threat, the keepers fling themselves full length to tip the ball around the post. They’re also no longer completely protected by the invisible force field that enabled to claim high balls unchallenged. So if you send the keeper into a crowd, he’s more likely to punch or spill. Another defensive change is the way clearing works. In the past, using [square] to head or hoof the ball to safety was a get-out-of-jail card. Now, if a ball is whipped into the near post, chances are you defenders will put it out for a corner rather than launch it down-field. Again, much more realistic.

There’s a handful of other changes worth mentioning. First is the new look-up cross. Hold down [R1] and [L1] as you race towards the byline and the winger will turn towards the box, picking out a target before firing in a more accurate cross. It looks odd with the crosser shuffling sideways, but does add a new weapon to the attacking armoury. As does the new set-play tactics menu, which enables you to select three players to send up for free kicks and corners. Big, strong centre backs are the obvious choice, but you can also order up the keeper for comedy value if you’re chasing the game late on. Annoyingly, you can reassign from the same menu as you use to change the kicker, making it a little laborious to change the set-up. And although it’s something the fans have requested for a while, surely Konami could’ve gone a lot further. Why not allow us to design our own bespoke set-piece on a chalkboard? As it is, free kicks and corners are almost entirely unchanged, and have been for years now.

In the run-up to release, much was made of the new TeamVision AI system. Aside from sounding ‘a bit EA’, the idea was that if you kept playing a particular pattern, the CPU would wise up and adjust its tactics accordingly. Well, not as far as I can tell. The opposition does seem better at dealing with unusual formations – like pushing one winger high into the corner – but there’s not much sense of it reorganising to cancel your style of play. No matter though, cause on a macro level the AI is sterling, with strikers straying offside less and midfielders cutting out loose passes. There was the odd occasion particularly when running directly at goal from the deep, when the back four swung open like saloon doors. But for the most part, the AI feels authentic. And the fact that your teammates make decent runs enables you to play a stylish passing game. Spreading the ball wide with a vertical though-ball for a full-back to run on to works brilliantly, and PES remains light years ahead of FIFA in the way it replicates the complexity of football, from stringing breathtaking attacks together to brilliantly random goal-mouth scrambles.

The one big – and potentially massively controversial – addition is diving. Press [L1]+[L2]+[R1] and your player throws himself down Saving Private Ryan-style. It’s all sorts of funny at first, but once you realise the ref nearly always spots it, there doesn’t seem much point in wasting what could develop into a shooting chance for what’s an almost guaranteed booking. The AI only seems to dive if it’s trailing in the final few minutes and hasn’t won a penalty so far. However, in two-player we have managed to con the ref a couple of times, but only for free kicks in pretty innocuous situations (the trick being to do the dying swan just as a challenge comes in). Where things are likely to get problematic is online. Over time, some players will surely find a way to exploit the system consistently. Given how furious people were over handball in PES3, diving seems certain to split opinion even more dramatically. Konami will doubtless argue that diving happens in real football and is therefore a legitimate inclusion – but not if it messes up the balance. At time of writing, the servers weren’t live, but as Warhawk demonstrated, a vibrant community should spring up as soon as the game is released. We’ll report back soon.

Okay, let’s talk Master League. It’s bizarre that so many people seem to ignore it entirely, because beneath the esoteric transfer system and lack of licensed tournaments, lies an obsessive, hugely satisfying management game. In the build-up to PES 2008, Konami released shots of players talking to the media and fans celebrating in bars, leading many to speculate Master League would be totally overhauled. It hasn’t. The shots are just that – static images which appear on the menu screens. There is a new popularity system, whereby if players perform well, their value increases and it becomes easier to make signings, but it’s very similar to the way the club’s overall ranking worked before. The lack of licensed Premier League teams – Spurs and Newcastle being the only two this year – also remains a huge pity, but having investigated the reasons why last month, there’s little point beating Konami up over what seems like an insoluble problem. (Obviously we can’t condone it, but it’ll be interesting to see if fans start swapping edited option files).

Slightly more vexing than the lack of new features is the fact that generally, the players don’t feel quite as individual as they did previously. Sure, superstars like Thierry Henry and Christiano Ronaldo have unique animations, but it was always a major PES strength that even the lesser lights felt uncannily like their real-life equivalents, with the subtleties of their abilities making team selection a fascinating exercise. Now, a lot of them move and play generically. It may be something to do with the new graphics engine, which obviously favours realism over the cartoony and characterful PS2 models. There’s also the fact that any serious PES fan uses the wide camera angle to get the best view of the pitch, which coupled with the inclusion of widescreen (finally) which means the players look tiny on screen. Overall, 720p visuals are crisp, smooth and detailed, just not mind-blowingly so. Meanwhile, on the audio side, the new commentary team of John Champion and sad sack Lawrenson is a major improvement. Sure, repetition creeps in - Champion seems obsessed with complaining about refs not having officiated at the highest level - but the banter flows nicely and it fits the context perfectly.

So then, back to the original question: what do you want from PES on PS3? Simple: for it not to be broken. Because what would have been a disaster was if Konami had implemented a long list of new features but messed up the basic gameplay. Because the longer you play PES, the more you understand that changing any of its key elements – passing, shooting, tackling – has a big knock-on effect on the others. The fact that all those elements have been tweaked, yet 2008 still feels unmistakeably like PES in all its mercurial, collar flicked-up brilliance – is a triumph. Yes, there’s plenty of room for improvement; there always is. And doubtless, a couple of years down the line, this version will seem crude. But here’s the thing – there is no other game on PS3 that you’re guaranteed to still be playing obsessively this time next year. PES is magic because it is football in all its glory and madness, and as such, you’re never really finished with it.

[Via 360Indians]

Metal Gear Solid 4: No More Trailers

Believe it or not, we've seen a hefty load of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots trailers, nine to be exact. Thats excluding the gameplay videos (which matter the most) that we've seen.

Kojima Productions assistant producer Ryan Payton has told MTV Games' Stephen Totilo that their latest video, from this year's Tokyo Game Show (embedded above), "could be the last trailer [for the game]."

"The pressure is really on to finish work on the game, and we have decided not to be sidetracked by any more promotional work," he said. That doesn't rule out making more cinema once the game is completed, although.

Don't remember all the trailers? Let's refresh you. The trailers were shown three E3 Expos, three Tokyo Game Shows, two Leipzig Games Conventions and a Metal Gear 20th Anniversary Party.

[Via JoyStiq]

Rock Band: Orange Crush Added, Song List Update

Harmonix's Rock Band is quite the big anticipated title. With a big title of rock, you need to have a big song list of rock.

The song Orange Crush was just confirmed for the upcoming Rock Band. We also have a list for you of the songs currently confirmed for the game. Enjoy.
  • 1970s
    • The Who, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
    • Mountain, "Mississippi Queen" (cover recording)
    • David Bowie, "Suffragette City"
    • Black Sabbath, "Paranoid" (cover recording)
    • Blue Oyster Cult, "Don't Fear the Reaper"
    • The Ramones, "Blitzkrieg Bop"
    • Deep Purple, "Highway Star"
    • Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"
    • KISS, "Detroit Rock City"
  • 1980s
    • R.E.M., "Orange Crush"
    • Rush, "Tom Sawyer" (cover recording)
    • Bon Jovi, "Wanted Dead or Alive"
    • The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
    • Faith No More, "Epic"
    • Pixies, "Wave of Mutilation"
    • 1990s
    • Foo Fighters, "Learn to Fly"
    • Metallica, "Enter Sandman"
    • Nirvana, "In Bloom"
    • Stone Temple Pilots, "Vasoline"
    • Weezer, "Say It Ain't So"
    • Smashing Pumpkins, "Cherub Rock"
    • Radiohead, "Creep"
    • Beastie Boys "Sabotage"
    • Hole, "Celebrity Skin"
    • Garbage, "I Think I'm Paranoid"
    • Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun"
  • 2000s
    • The Hives, "Main Offender"
    • Queens of the Stone Age, "Go With the Flow"
    • The Strokes, "Reptilia"
    • Jet, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
    • OK Go, "Here It Goes Again"
    • Nine Inch Nails, "The Hand That Feeds"
    • Freezepop, "Brain Power"
    • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Maps"
    • Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Dani California"
[Via QJ.NET]

Sierra Launches Official Prototype Site

Sierra Entertainment has just launched the site for their upcoming game, Prototype. The site features game screens, videos, game features and even forums. The game features are actually quite interesting:

Game Features
  • Unprecedented Abilities and Control — Play as the most powerful and dynamic character ever created with innovative shapeshifting powers and over the top parkour locomotion movement.
  • Shapeshifting — Attack with brutal and devastating powers; instantly triggering hundreds of power combinations (Attack, Defensive and Sensory).
  • Disguise — Assume the perfect disguise by transforming into any character and assuming the victim's powers, skills and abilities.
  • Open-World Action Thriller— New York City is your hunting ground! Jam-packed, vibrant, fully interactive city filled with thousands of people and enemies out to destroy you.
  • Conspiracy Based Storyline — Delve to the bottom of a conspiracy that has haunted the American government for decades. Who is responsible for your condition? Only you can find out!
  • Multi-Player — 2 Person Co-Op Online Multi-Player.
With online multiplayer and destructive behavior, this game is sure to be a hit. Visit the site at the link below.

[Visit: Prototype]

Rock Band: Price Announced $169.99

Rock Band is set to launch at a $169.99 price point for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game releases on November 23, 2007.

The package will include the game, one guitar, a microphone and a drum kit. The PlayStation 2 version of Rock Band will be coming out later with a December 10, 2o07 release. The PlayStation 2 bundle will only cost $159.99.

[Via AdvancedMN]

God of War 3 Winking Comments

Over at the PlayStation.Blog, on the God of War PSP Demo shipments post, Cory Barlog joined in on the commenting.

XxBigP123xX: god of war is one of the reasons i bought a ps3! nice to know im getting this demo. when will we see god of war 3?

Cory Barlog: God of War 3? I have no idea what you are talking about?
Seems pretty fishy to me, why not show us Mr. Barlog?

[Via PS.Blog]

Army of Two: Producer Overview

Purely focused on co-op from the ground up, Army of Two is all about two-man tactics, two-man strategies, and the two-man advantage. Enjoy.

[Via GameTrailers]

The Eye of Judgment: How To Play

This new Eye of Judgment video from GameTrailers shows you just how to set up and play Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 card game. Enjoy.

[Via GameTrailers]

Sony Japan Releases Official PSP Theme Maker

Japan's official PlayStation site has just updated with a new downloadable zip folder, that is a PSP Theme Maker for their newest firmware. It's an official release of Sony's very own theme maker for handhelds running on their official firmware.

While details are still sketchy at this point (it's all in Japanese), a quick scan of this new application's PDF manual reveals some interesting details. For example, we've spotted screenshots for what appears to be a custom icon editor (complete with step-by-step instructions). The app also carries its own theme converters, although once again, we can't verify this until we can pick up a more proper translation.

Hopefully a North American version of this will be released of this soon for those wanting their own custom themes. If you want to check it out, visit the link below.

[Download: PSP Theme Maker]

Final Fantasy XIII: New Details

We have a few new details about Final Fantasy XIII & Final Fantasy Versus XIII. We have a scanned article translated:

  • The city inside of Cocoon was shown in the new trailer.
  • The new FF13 girl is quite different than other girls in the series so it's hard to get her into balance.
  • Nomura said the latest Versus 13 trailer finally caught up to the original image he had always wanted to go with. Two new characters even showed up but everything might be reset by the end of the year.* The main character's design has always been a temporary design anyway so his real self will be revealed sometime next year. (MAJISSUKA)
  • The plains and towns are following the image of Italy. The text that showed up in the trailer was also Italian.
  • For now Agito 13 looks pretty tame compared to the main 13 and Versus 13 but a bigger revelation will be done next year.
Thats about it! Enjoy.

[Via Forever Fantasy]

Official PlayStation Magazine November Reviews

Thanks to LongTrousers from GameTrailers, we have the latest reviews from the Official PlayStation Magazin of the UK.

Everbody's Golf 5 - 8/10
Folklore - 7/10
Madden NFL 08 - 7/10
NHL 08 - 9/10
Pro Evolution Soccer 08 - 9/10
Sega Rally - 7/10
Skate - 9/10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 - 8/10
[Via GameTrailers]

Metal Gear Solid 4 Figures

Looking for some badass way to show that you are a true fan of the Metal Gear Solid series? These badass figures are a good way to show it. Highly expensive though, costing around $150-200 USD. Check them out below.

[View: MGS4 Figures]

The Simpsons Game: NeverQuest Trailer

Here is a new trailer for EA's upcoming The Simpsons Game. This one for the Neverquest level. Enjoy.

[Via MegaTonik]