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Preview: LittleBigPlanet for PS3!

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362w ago - A captive audience of game creators went totally gaga over LittleBigPlanet at March's Game Developers Conference... but that's not terribly surprising, as it's ostensibly a game about game development. It's certainly a fresh concept: You (and up to three friends) converge online to design and play side-scrolling platformer levels in real time. From its cuddly customizable avatars to its promise of a YouTube-style community, the whole thing feels remarkably original. But will the average gamer be as enamored with this quirky toolkit when Sony drops an interactive demo later this year? We cornered Media Molecule Senior Producer Pete Wilson for the scoop on this wacky new gaming concept...

EGM: Since we aren't all game developers, will you include some type of in-game hint system so our creations don't suck?

Pete Wilson: Actually, you'll be introduced to the creation tools just by playing the premade levels. We call it creativity by stealth -- you won't even notice it but, after playing LBP for a while, you'll probably be pretty good at making stuff. You definitely don't need to be a game developer to make stuff in LBP -- there is no separate editor for example; you just create everything very physically using your character, in-game. And we want to keep the creation systems very simple so that users aren't...
 

Conan - The Barbaric Preview

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363w ago - Conan the game isn't directly based on any particular Conan story, but fans of the original works will recognize returning locations from the original stories, like the lands of Kush and Stygia. Of course, there will be a number of original, fantastic environments through which to slaughter, too, such as a set of ocean ruins we got to see that are full of gigantic living statues and semi-corporeal, ghost-like enemies that your weapons can't always hit. At the outset, Conan has lost four of his enchanted pieces of armor which he intends to recover, and each one will grant him a new magical attack when he retrieves it. As a barbarian, Conan doesn't especially relish the thought of using magic, but he also recognizes its utility when there are all these enemies just asking to be driven before him. Along the way, Conan will encounter A'kanna, a lithe and sensual archer who seems like she'll act as a wily feminine foil for all of Conan's trademark bluster and bravado.

Veterans of Ninja Gaiden, God of War, and similarly technical combat-action games ought to feel right at home with the mechanics in Conan. The burly barbarian's move and combo sets are categorized by weapon type; you've got one set of attacks for a single-handed sword, one for dual weapons, and another for two-handed weapons. Regardless of what weapons you're...
 

Preview: Silent Hill 5

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363w ago - We have an excerpt from EGM's interview with lead artist Brian Horton and lead designer Jason Allen of The Collective, as well as a video preview of the game with the first footage and a video interview featuring Konami's Akira Yamaoka. Read on for the interview, and head over to our Silent Hill 5 video page for the video preview and Yamaoka interview.

EGM: As a Silent Hill fan, when I heard that a Western team was taking it over, automatically skepticism, trepidation... "How are they going to destroy my beloved franchise? What are they going to do to it? Is it going to be a first-person shooter?" But instead of that, I think you guys -- from what I've seen -- are staying true to the original heritage but evolving it. What was your approach to making this game?

BH: On an art side, obviously we want to maintain what everyone... I mean everyone knows that Silent Hill is known for its high quality assets. So we wanted to make sure we maintain the atmosphere, the strong characters, the rich environments... So for my job, it was just to make sure I could take the spirit of what was done in the past and really bring it forward with the next generation system.

JA: From a design perspective it's the same thing. If...
 

FIFA 08 Preview for PS3

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363w ago - We're not going to crown FIFA 08 just yet, but after spending more hands-on time with it than David Beckham's spent on-field for the LA Galaxy, prospects look good. After a dozen games, we decided to look back at last year's review of FIFA 07, just to see what the developers didn't fix. After all, FIFA tends to dupe the U.S. press with its glamour every year, but ends up being a 10-game experience before you toss the controller and just turn the game on to listen to the soundtrack. So, here are quotes from last year's review and our responses after playing 08:

"...there are only six league licenses at work, instead of the 28 on current gen." Now there are 30.

"...there are only 37 international teams (out of a possible 194)." This is an omission that stands, but there are only 43 teams, now -- no Ghana, no Israel, no Iran.

"...there are no tournaments." 08 has a tournament creator that allows you to get complicated tourneys, like a full-blown Champion's League.

"...current-gen FIFA made a next-gen type of leap with its new online system, but here it's head-to-head, and that's it." The online component in this year's game is quite incredible -- full online leagues in addition to last year's interactive leagues, and the ability to play 5-on-5 with nine other people around the...
 

Burnout Paradise Preview for PS3

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363w ago - Thankfully not content with a shinier sequel, Criterion is reinventing its fabled racing franchise for this generation of consoles (the Burnout Revenge 360 port was more of a facelift). Gone are the linear tracks and tiered level structure; Burnout Paradise takes place in one enormous city that's open from the start and never stops to load. And lest you fret, the game still blazes by at 60 frames a second, the buttery-smooth visuals complemented by cars that crumple more convincingly than ever. The series is still about viscerally destructive driving, and the audio-visual impact of hitting a wall at 200 m.p.h. is as "next-gen" as anything we've experienced.

Paradise makes the most of its open-world structure, assuring that it's more than just a gimmick or several levels strung together. The game encourages you to learn the map, and familiarize yourself with where the major landmarks are (most races end at one of them). Every street has a name, and street signs pop up on the HUD to show you which intersections you pass. Trusting your navigation skills and penchant for experimenting, some races simply give you an ending point marked only with an arrow on the horizontal compass on the top of your screen. Always knowing your orientation to the finish point but never the best route there is a welcome change from checkpoint...
 
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