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Burnout Paradise Preview for PS3

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368w 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...
 

Condemned 2: Bloodshot preview!

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368w ago - Monolith Productions is a developer in a prime position to shed some light on the situation, having achieved critical and retail success with their launch title Condemned: Criminal Origins, and working on their follow-up with the upcoming sequel, Condemned 2: Bloodshot. "There is a certain satisfaction in taking on major challenges and overcoming them -- and this was definitely a major challenge. Sega also wanted us to hit the launch date... [and] gave us great testing and localization support to help make sure that we did hit our dates," says producer David Hasle, who later adds, "We knew that being present at launch would provide us more time to get more game titles developed internally at Monolith Productions for the 360 over the course of the lifespan of the 360 so this was seen as a good business decision. Plus being one of six or seven games is better than being one of 50 or 60 games on the shelf at your local game store."

The making of Condemned 2 is not just about redressing past mistakes, but also about implementing new features with the intention of enriching the gameplay experience. A prime example includes the inclusion of multiplayer gameplay, a particularly intriguing gesture considering the visceral experience that Condemned's combat engine imposes on the player in that first-person beat-them-to-a-pulp...
 

NHL 2K8 Preview!

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368w ago - The NHL 2K series seemed, just a few short years ago, like a dynasty in the making. But after EA's NHL 07 launched the skill stick, 2K's series felt dated. Trying to play catch-up this year NHL 2K8 has completely revamped controls...and they're absolutely confusing. Even after a few games of hands-on time, we were passing when we meant to shoot, deking when we meant to shoot, and on rare occasion shooting when we meant to shoot.

The basics aren't that difficult: deke with the right stick, pass with LB, and shoot with RB. Easy, right? If that was all, yes. The complications come when you're speed bursting with the right trigger, or super speed bursting with the A button. You slap shot with the left trigger and RB. All those button presses get very confusing, and more often than we liked we passed up on the chance to wallop a slap shot because we couldn't sort the necessary combination in a sport that requires split-second decisions. (All control mentions are for the Xbox 360 version.)

Though there were other reasons the slap shot didn't happen; mostly, the game is way, way too deliberate. Shooting, passing, receiving the puck -- all of it happens way too slowly. Again, hockey is a split-second sport. If you can't rip off a slapper in a hurry, you're going to miss the chance. And the hitting is like a WWE...
 
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