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Review: Operation Darkness for XBox 360

318w ago - Repeat after me: Operation Darkness is not a good game. Operation Darkness is not a good game. There, you just saved yourself some time and money. This is a videogame rife with bad design, bad programming, bad sound and bad graphics. Did I mention this game is bad?

Don't be misled. It sounds pretty great on paper. Operation Darkness is a turn-based strategy RPG set in World World II, but this isn't your daddy's war. This one pits you and a band of super-soldier werewolves against the Nazis and a clan of vampires. It's like Shining Force meets Brothers in Arms with a twist of Van Helsing.

You'll take a squadron of supernatural soldiers into battle; meticulously move them across the grid one at a time to take down Hitler and his band of undead monsters with guns, bazookas, magic fireballs and werewolf slashes at your disposal. That's Operation Darkness on paper. Reality isn't so kind.

The game could be fun, and there is some depth to the strategy here with cover and stat-based move systems, but getting to it is painful. Operation Darkness runs the full gamut of bad and outdated design. This genre isn't exactly cutting edge which makes these flaws both surprising and unforgivable. There are so many aspects of Operation Darkness that are frustrating for no good reason that it's hard to imagine...

Panel: Why User-Generated Content Matters for Games

318w ago - With YouTube disruptive to the movie and TV industries, a panel at the recent Social Gaming Summit, including Daniel James (Puzzle Pirates) and Cary Rosenzweig (IMVU) looked at the idea that that the games industry should understand user generated content before it's too late, with the intriguing proposition that game developers should think virtual "spaces" not virtual "worlds."

"The more tools that you provide can lead to richer behavior, but often it's the simpler things that people enjoy most," began Daniel James, CEO of Three Rings. "As designing games constraints can lead you to designing better games, constrained environments can lead to more fun."

"The simplest games are the ones everybody can join in and play," expanded Ted Rheingold, founder of Dogster and Catster.

Cary Rosenzwieg, the president and CEO of IMVU, described their take on user-generated content. "Almost 100% of the content in IMVU is user-generated. They have collectively created the world's largest catalog of virtual items."

"Much like eBay, we introduced buyers and sellers within the game, and last year we estimate our top developer made $1 million in income, and our top 10 made over $100,000 each. We've never issued a press release in our history and people have come primarily through word-of-mouth."

Microsoft to make desperate play at E3 Press Conference

320w ago - Following talk that Microsoft is to announce two new major games in its E3 press conference, we have learned from trusted sources that the announcements are to be "interesting, partly spectacular, and a bit desperate."

The insider added: "Let's put it this way: they're worried the current line-up can't carry Q4 for the entire Xbox brand in the core market. You'll laugh when you see what they're planning."

Microsoft confirmed its E3 roster last night, listing Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Halo Wars, Too Human and Viva PiƱata: Trouble in Paradise as its first-party offering for the Holiday season.

The firm's E3 conference will take place on July 14 at 10.30am PST.

Silent Hill: Homecoming brings home several videos

323w ago - We've got one video (directly below) and several more videos further down detailing different areas of Silent Hill: Homecoming.

While some may decry the game as an abandoned franchise by Team Silent, or a Me-Too title done by outsourced developers, you have to admit they've nailed the atmosphere pretty well. This is a Silent Hill game, but we can't really judge this type of game until it's been played through from beginning to bloody end.

Then thought about on a deep psychological level for several hours. Anyway, enjoy these videos, featuring lots of nurses and lots of dogs, then let us know what you think.


Add HAZE to the Sub-HD Generation

325w ago - As seems to be the norm this console generation, not all games can hit that elusive 720p HD resolution. First Halo 3, then GTA4 (PS3) and now the PS3 exclusive Haze.

As previously reported, a demo of Haze can be found on the Playstation Store, supporting 4 player co-op. Graphically it's solid, but what's most impressive is that it runs silky smooth. It runs at a locked 30fps, and even with a host of foliage and enemies on screen - it never dips.

Though there are more impressive looking games on the PS3, it's with Haze's gameplay and story that show off its true colours. (More on this in our upcoming preview of both the four player co-op and multiplayer modes.) Nonetheless, for Free Radical to achieve a solid PS3 engine with no loading throughout the game, they've had to make some concessions.

Qua51 of Beyond3d now confirms Haze's resolution to be 1024by576 with no anti-aliasing. That is, going by the demo, and there's yet to be a difference in resolution from a game's demo to its final release. At the end of the day, this is something we're going to have to get used to. If developers find they can put the saved power into a solid framerate, or better graphics - then should we really be complaining?

When we visited Free Radical at Sony's 3 Rooms earlier...
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