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Preview: Soul Calibur IV with In-Depth Interview

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357w ago - We recently sat down with the Soul Calibur IV development team, had a chat about the game, and discovered that its main programmer has been with the team since the very first game, allaying any fears we may have had about whether the latest game in the series was in good hands.

We spoke at length about how the new game will compare to the team's previous efforts such as Soul Calibur III -- which while popular, was generally received as an unbalanced effort -- and what players can look forward to as we learn more about IV leading up to its release next year.

1UP: Can you tell us about SCIV's play style? Is it more like Soul Calibur III's design, or back to the old-school, hardcore mechanics of SCII?

Katsutoshi Sasaki, director: We have returned to the design flow of SCII. SCII is the most popular and well-known, so we returned to that style here.

1UP: What's going on with SCIV's storyline now?

KS: Nightmare and Siegfried play a key role in the story this time. Both characters have absorbed the power of their blades, Soul Calibur and Soul Edge, so they're near their final forms. The spotlight is on these two characters.

1UP: How are you using the 360 and PS3's technology to enhance SCIV in ways you couldn't do before?

KS: [Pointing to a TV...
 

Preview: Kane and Lynch for PS3

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358w ago - Kane and Lynch dropped by the office this week, and what ensued was gruesome, gritty, and fun. We got to learn more about the background on these two killers, and see them in all their gratuitous murdering glory, going hands-on with the first mission of Kane and Lynch: Dead Men.

The first level unveils a lot of background on the main character, Kane. He used to belong to "The Seven," a group of top mercenaries, but the game starts off with him behind bars. Assuming the rest of The Seven died after a botched job, Kane had run off with a mysterious briefcase. He only learns that they're very much alive as they send Lynch to break him out of prison. Now, unless he brings them the briefcase, they're going to kill his wife and daughter.

The story is one of the intriguing parts of the game, and the action has the potential to set it apart. No, it doesn't have all the pretty textures of a lot of the games coming out this holiday season, but it does have a lot of stuff going on. Tons of cops were chasing us, destroying terrain and blowing up gas tanks, their cars screeching to a halt on the street (or crashing through walls), and everyone's bullets were flying. The game tries hard to feel like a heist movie, and in this first level it succeeds with flying colors.

The way enemy snipers work and how...
 

Preview: Folklore for PS3!

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358w ago - In Folklore the barrier between the lands of the living and dead is far from impenetrable. Living souls that travel between are called "messengers," and Folklore concerns itself with two in particular: Keats, a worldly reporter obsessed with the occult, and Ellen, a young woman with a murky past. Both are lured to the town of Doolin in short order, and the death of one thrusts both on a journey through seven strange realms of the Netherworld.

Each metaphysical neighborhood is shaped by how the living view death, resulting in worlds as diverse as the thoughts that brought them into being. The Faery Realm is a psychedelic wonderland of glowing butterflies and vibrant foliage that feels more like an interactive painting than anything nature might manage. Warcadia, on the other hand, is a nightmarish eternal battlefield where bullets never stop flying and bombers never stop diving.

Whether exploring the watery blue of the Undersea City, or wandering the halls of the Endless Corridor, the beautiful otherworldly visuals can't gloss over the fact that something's not quite right in the Netherworld, and most of the residents aren't terribly pleased to see you traipsing across their property. Over a hundred different monsters, called "Folks," want to take a chunk out of your hide.

Whether you're strafing...
 

Preview: NBA 08 for PS3

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358w ago - Amare Stoudemire, who will appear on the cover of the upcoming NBA 08, was at SCEA's San Diego headquarters on Sept. 7 to do some motion-capture work and take an early look at the new game.

After trading his bright-yellow Beatles t-shirt for a "dotted-up" mo-cap suit, Stoudemire took to the court and started firing free-throw line jump shots. The first few clanged hard off the rim, which Stoudemire attributed to the 10 a.m. start time. He eventually found his form, saying "Uh-oh" as he reeled off a few swishes in a row and warned that all Lakers fans should leave the room.

The Sony people told Stoudemire to pick one signature dunk, and he agonized over the choice, staring at the rim and rubbing his chin before deciding to go with a two-handed reverse. Later, he asked to give it another try, even asking if the rim could be lowered to eight feet to give the dunk extra power. After a couple big windmills, he was satisfied.

Later, Stoudemire sat down to give the game a try, leading his own Phoenix Suns against one of the game's designers, controlling the Seattle Sonics. He got into it, shouting, "There you go 'Trix! The Matrix!" after he guided Shawn Marion down the lane for a dunk, and, "Oh! Steve with the putback!" following a rare offensive rebound by Steve Nash. Virtual Amare scored...
 

Preview: The Simpsons Game for PS3!

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358w ago - Picture this: a towering, King Kong-size Millhouse costumed up as Katamari Damacy's King of All Kosmos -- complete with crown and pink and green cups sticking out where ears should be. From that one image you get a pretty good idea what The Simpsons Game is all about. As we saw in prior demos of levels like "Grand Theft Scratchy" and "Medal of Homer," this isn't just a game featuring the Simpsons; it turns the clan loose on videogames, in a videogame.

If you think of each level as an episode, the game becomes a season of the show during which the Simpsons figure out that they've been licensed out to be in a number of games. It all begins with Homer in what he thinks is one of his favorite dreams visiting the Land of Chocolate. The video that introduces the level erases any doubts about whether the production lives up to the standard of the TV show. The animation looks terrific in HD, and with the regular show writers and voice talent on the job, it's just like watching another episode.

Except this time, after watching Homer's eyes light up at the sight of everything in chocolate, and his taking that first bite off the corner of a building, the animation transitions into a fully 3D game world with you in control. For this tutorial level, a white chocolate bunny appears to guide your proverbial journey down...
 
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