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Video Games

LA Noire DLC dates released

Rockstar has confirmed the contents of the Rockstar Pass and dated the “Nicholson Electroplating Disaster” for June 21 and “Reefer Madness” DLC case for 12th July.

No additional details for the Nicholson Electroplating Disaster and Reefer Madness cases were given, other than that they are inspired by “famous” noir fiction and real-life crimes “taken straight from the headlines”.

The Rockstar Pass buys all DLC for 800 Microsoft Points or $10 (PSN) – a 50 per cent saving on what you’d pay for all seven add-ons separately.

That’s a time-limited price; the Rockstar Pass will cost 960 MSP or $12 from 14th June. But that’s still a 40 per cent saving.

Those seven new add ons – four cases, two suits and a collectible challenge – are:

  • Chicago Lightning Detective Suit (Social Club only) – May 17
  • L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass (limited-time discount price) – May 31
  • “The Naked City” DLC case – May 31 (320 MSP / $4)
  • “A Slip of The Tongue” DLC case – May 31 (320 MSP / $4)
  • Broderick Detective Suit and Gun – May 31 (80 MSP / $1)
  • Sharpshooter Detective Suit and Gun – May 31 (80 MSP / $1)
  • The Badge Pursuit Challenge – May 31 (160 MSP / $2)
  • Chicago Piano Machine Gun (free community unlock) – May 31
  • L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass (standard price) – June 14
  • “Nicholson Electroplating Disaster” DLC case – June 21
  • “Reefer Madness” DLC case – July 12

Members of the Rockstar Social Club have been given a Chicago Lightning Detective Suit for free.


Mass Effect 3 – From Cover to Combat

Written By: Arthur Gales

Source: IGN

Mass Effect 3 plays like a shooter.

Sure, Mass Effect games have always looked like shooters, but they’ve never really played like them. Yeah, you pointed and shot at things, but the less tangible particulars of combat have always eluded BioWare’s sci-fi epic. Gunplay in Mass Effect was a clunky exercise in behind-the-scenes dice rolls, RPG-style. Mass Effect 2’s battles weren’t the chore they often were in the original, but they weren’t what anyone paid the price of admission for. The cover mechanic was limited in comparison to dedicated third person action games, and guns lacked any sort of oomph.

My playtime with Mass Effect 3 was set on the Salarian homeworld of Sur’Kesh. Ostensibly, my job was to escort a Krogan princess offworld. But in practice, my main job was kicking Cerberus ass across a science station, and Shepard was more equipped than ever to get the job done.

A host of seemingly small additions have changed the way Mass Effect 3 plays. Basic character movement is more responsive for starters, more animated. Guiding Shepard around is less of a struggle than it’s ever been. Aiming also felt snappier, and guns have the punch now that they’ve always lacked.

These changes alter the way you can move around combat zones in Mass Effect 3. Previously, firefights in Mass Effect were mostly static affairs. You’d find a good sized bit of cover and fire away, or throw abilities at your enemies hoping they’d never really get in close enough to make Mass Effect or Mass Effect 2’s unwieldy combat controls a liability. If you were a Vanguard, you might risk your life to use your powerful charge move, but it was an awkward maneuver that missed as often as it hit. But Mass Effect 3’s revised movement and aiming make Shepard viable at variable ranges in a way he never was before.

Moving and shooting, a previously suicidal maneuver that most players outgrew within a few hours of Mass Effect 2, isn’t just an option now – it’s a good choice. Cover is still important; it’s also been revamped from the last game, easier now to traverse and use dynamically rather than finding a point to set up at and pray that enemies don’t close the gap. But BioWare wants you to mix it up in close – something made obvious by the revised melee system.

Cerberus shock troops? Not a problem.

The awkward melee shoves and slaps of past Mass Effects are gone. Formidable melee punches and attacks specific to each class have taken their place. The Soldier Shepard I used delivered some solid, fast punches that knocked enemies back without causing me to double over like I had shattered every bone in my hand. But the real new addition to close quarters combat is the instant melee kill – hold down the B or Circle button and Shepard will wind back to deliver a killing blow unique to his class, in this case a tech-blade in my Soldier’s wrist armor. Shaped similarly to the energy-based armor used by Sentinel classes in Mass Effect, it cut down enemies in one hit. Other classes have their own heavy melee attacks – Adepts have blades of psionic energy that they use to cut down their enemies in close, for example.

Then there are the grenades. Mass Effect 3 sees a series debut for actual, round, conventional grenades. This adds yet another combat option to the game that changes the way Shepard can engage with enemies, and adds a new tactical wrinkle to flanking and other maneuvers.

All of these things combine to provide a shooting experience that, honestly, feels a bit surreal in a Mass Effect game. As I made my way to the Krogan princess on the other end of a science platform with my teammates Liara and Garrus, there was a point in the demo where Cerberus operatives stormed the opposite end of the corridor. The platform had the standard smattering of cover objects between us and the Cerberus forces, but there was also a passage to the right that flanked to the other side. Ordering Liara and Garrus to use their abilities as a diverson, I stuck to cover and ran to the corridor. I made my way to the end and blind-tossed a pair of grenades into the other side of the room.

As the explosions rocked the Cerberus personnel, I swung around the cover and quickly popped a pair of enemies with my assault rifle. Then I dashed forward, sprung over a bit of cover, and took out another Cerberus agent with a pair of quick melee strikes, then ducked back into cover and made my way around to the remaining enemy’s rear, cutting him down with Shepard’s tech blade.

It all felt like a different game, like a different series even. Where Mass Effect 2 felt like a slightly tighter Mass Effect combat-wise, Mass Effect 3 is in an entirely different space. The familiar elements that need to be there are intact – powers and talents are still in the same menu wheel structure, and weapon types remain unchanged. You’re not going to select an assault rifle and be shocked by its looks. But you will be taken aback by how well it works. I was. And now the wait to play Mass Effect 3 until 2012 is that much harder.


Chinese prisoners forced to farm gold in MMO games

Source: The Globe and Mail

Chinese prisoners were forced to earn virtual money in online games (MMOs) that was then traded for real-world money, according to a former inmate interviewed by The Guardian this week.

The anonymous man, himself a former prison guard who was incarcerated in 2004 for three years after “illegally petitioning” perceived government corruption, stated that in addition to his hard labour duties — which included mining coal — he was forced to play games for up to 12 hours at a time, performing simple tasks that resulted in game currency.

People have engaged in this dubious practice — dubbed “gold farming” — for more than a decade. Farmers in developing countries sell the virtual currency they acquire to players residing in richer Western countries who’d rather not spend the time it takes to earn virtual money themselves. This virtual market, which some have estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars, is typically prohibited and policed by the makers of MMO games.

The Guardian‘s source said he overheard guards discussing that the operation was garnering between 5,000 and 6,000 Chinese yuan (about $750 to $900) per day, and that prisoners saw none of this money.

He also said he was physically punished when he failed to meet quotas.

“They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes,” he said. “We kept playing until we could barely see things.”

Another British newspaper, The Telegraph, interviewed a Chinese official Thursday who flatly denied any possibility of gold farming operations in the country’s prisons.

“We do not have large numbers of computers,” said the official. “And we do not allow our prisoners to have any contact with the outside world. If they were playing these online games they could easily communicate with other people. We would never allow that.”

However, the anonymous prisoner told The Guardian not only have prison-run gold farming operations taken place in the past, but that he believes they are ongoing.

“Many prisons across the north-east of China also forced inmates to play games,” he said. “It must still be happening.”


LA Noire DLC Extra Cases Due June 21

Source: GNews

With Rockstar’s L.A Noire now released internationally, many detectives will already have a light case file and be hungry to get stuck into solving new felonies. Fortunately, the wait will be relatively minor, as the first LA Noire DLC is scheduled for a June 21 release.

Entitled “Nicholson Electroplating”, details on the newest case are understandably scarce. Although it is known that arson is involved, meaning that you’ll most likely have to work damned hard to sift through some burnt-out wreckage in order to find those tantalizing tidbits of evidence.

LA Noire has been welcomed with rave reviews for its grit, engaging nature and originality. Released today in Europe, everyone can now hunker down on the toughest cases to crack and test their investigative instincts to the very limit.

It is currently not known how many extra cases will be available to LA Noire players. Neither is the price of the extra content known. Unfortunately, this is one case that can’t be solved with diligent detective work, instead we’ll just have to sit tight and wait for the details to unfold.


Winter Classic, running of goalies comes to NHL 12

Yesterday, via their Facebook page, EA unveiled the first screenshot for the upcoming NHL 12 set to be released in September. Aside from two gameplay additions, a new game mode was revealed.

The Winter Classic has made its way into the NHL series.

If you’ll remember, NHL 2K had exclusivity on the Winter Classic, which was a feature in 2K10 and 2K11. Either that exclusivity has passed or there won’t be a 2K hockey game to compete against EA this year.

Also of note from the screenshot is the ability to knock the net off of its moorings and giving players the option to run goaltenders.

Take-Two Interactive (publisher of the 2K games) holds the current Major League Baseball license until 2012, so count Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Citizens Park Bank out for NHL 12, while Heinz Field will be the only stadium choice, not Ralph Wilson Stadium.


The Life and Death of Kyle Clifford

And so it begins;

It was a bright and sunny day, as it is for everyone when they are first introduced to the world. Kyle Clifford had just been created, as a young adult nonetheless. Why deal with potty training, school and acne when you can just start out on top.    He, undoubtedly, was the coolest guy in Moonlight Bay. Biased you ask? Of course not! What I say is the truth!

He had a lifelong ambition to become a rock star. This couldn’t be too hard, considering all of his good traits. He was  friendly, a conversationalist, flirt, party animal, and a great kisser. How do I know all these things? It’s because I created him, get with the program.

He started with a small lot on Easy Street. It was a little one bedroom-one bathroom house, fit for a slacker out of high school. Whats the first thing to do? Throw a party of course! What better way to meet the neighbourhood than the sweet smell of pizza through the window and a few spiked drinks. After a long few days of nothing but wooing women and playing guitar in the park, something became clear to him that he wished had never become clear at all, his money was dwindling and he needed to get a job. “Oh yes!” he thought, “I want to be a rock star! I forgot!”. He had now realized he needed to actually play music elsewhere than the park and get paid, rather than party and get laid (At this point he hadn’t actually got laid, but that isn’t from lack of effort). So he headed off to the theatre looking for a career in the music business. Little did he know that it involved only walking through the door, no resume or musical skills, to get a job as a musician in this town. “It must be my lucky day”, he thought.

Time passed, and Kyle kept up his antics. He threw parties, flirted with women and spent late nights at the theatre entertaining and helping others entertain. This is all until one day when he met a wonderful little asian woman named Nicole. Things were electric right from the start. They were affectionate and spent the next few days together, and had a sleepover or two. Finally they ended up in love, and Kyle bedded his first woman. Hurrah. He later proposed (Yes, it was premarital, the times are a-changing) and married Nicole. She didn’t move in yet though, and it took some convincing for whatever reason. Women…

A new era had dawned for Kyle and Nicole Clifford, including a larger bed and a fancy self-flushing toilet (although they almost missed bill payments and could eat only grilled cheese and pancakes for a while after that). It didn’t take long until Nicole had a baby bump. She continued working as a business woman for as long as she could then went on maternity leave. Kyle, not yet realizing the effects of his mindless sperm, continued to throw parties, and mingle with friends, including his best friend and boss next door.

All that changed when young Kingston Clifford was born. Kyle’s mindset had changed. Now he had someone to take care of and look after. He still threw parties, but they ended before 1 a.m. so the wife could get her sleep and make breakfast in the morning. What a sweetheart. Money got tight in the Clifford household. Cribs and toys and babysitters, it was getting harder to handle. Kyle was losing touch with his friends, but he was doing much better at work and developing a good relationship with Kingston. Nicole was having a harder time moving up in the workplace, but her boss was a bitch. As Kingston grew out of his infant and toddler stages and became a child, the Cliffords had saved up a bit of money and decided it was time to move into a larger, more family friendly house.

This is where shit went wrong. Once they moved into the house, they realized they were awful at math and had less than $100 to furnish and feed (after a few renovations). They worked hard and began to get things on track. This is when Nicole’s estrogen levels skyrocketed and decided to have another baby. Uncertain at first, Kyle slowly loosened up to the idea, even if it was to quiet the consistent nagging. They had a little Woo Hoo under the covers and sure enough, Nicole was back on maternity leave. Money was tight, but not as bad as before. They figured they worked at different times of the day, and Kingston went to school, so they could juggle raising a baby. One night as Nicole was waddling out of the bathroom she began to grab her stomach in agony. Unlike the last birth Kyle didn’t have time to get her to the hospital. He ran and grabbed the scissors, she was going to have the baby right there on the living room floor. That’s when things took a wild twist. Kyle looked at the floor to see two babies laying there. He blinked, but the second baby did not go away. That’s right, twins. Damn it. Neveah and Angelita Clifford. They could only afford to buy one crib, so the babies had to alternate unfortunately. This was true poverty. One child would sleep in the crib, while the other would sleep on the living room floor, while Kyle, Nicole, and Kingston stayed in their beds.

Kyle began to work even harder, as did Nicole. Kyle also started whoring himself out playing guitar in the park. Anything to pay the bills. They finally could afford a second crib and things were looking up. Kingston was now a teenager and working a part-time job to help the family, Kyle was a backup vocalist for the band, and Nicole, well like I said Nicole’s boss was a bitch. (She was even invited to a few parties, where she would pretend to be entertained and then leave, claiming it was the worst party she had ever been too)

The kids were growing up and things were starting to fall in place. Kingston was a certified genius and Neveah and Angelita were well on their way. Kyle and Nicole had retired and were living a simple life. Eating, bathing, raising, and sleeping. Things were getting too simple.

Tera Vasquez, a latino woman who lived on the other side of town, had met Kyle before, while playing his guitar in the park. Kyle knew he was getting old and wanted to see if he still had the charm he was known for, back when he was a young whippersnapper. Tera was a young adult now, probably half Kyle’s age. He had met her before as a young girl. He probably knew her parents, but they are dead now and couldn’t remember who they were (They obviously weren’t THAT close). So began Kyle’s affair. He began to flirt and charm Tera until dark, where he decided it best to go home and tuck in the children.

The next morning he had the desire to hang out with Tera again. So he headed to her house and knocked on the door. He was greeted with a big hug and the two continued where they left off. Then it headed to the bedroom. They got under the covers and got at it. When they were done Angelita burst in the door, disgusted at Kyle. Little did he know she was friends with Tera’s daughter. After some pleading and possibly a trip to the ice cream store Angelita agreed to keep it hush-hush and got went back to respecting her father. They went home, and naturally Kyle went and banged his wife, presumably out of guilt.

Sure enough, when Kyle next went to visit Tera there was a baby bump. This was some damn potent sperm Kyle had, even at his old age. He told her he would be there for the bastard child, and talked to and rubbed her stomach. He went home and spent some time with the family, when all of a sudden he got a call letting him know the baby was born. The next day he went to visit his new son Daemon Vasquez, but when he rang the doorbell no one answered. Sure enough she was at the pond across the road, but he couldn’t get inside to see the baby until she let him in. So he talked to her for a while and convinced her to go home. Kyle followed her home, but she went in first. Kyle decided to ring the door bell again. Still no answer, even though he just watched her go into the house. Peeking through the window he seen her, ignoring the bell, and playing her guitar. Kyle couldn’t believe it. A depressing walk home it was, all he wanted to do was see his secret son.

Once he got home he went upstairs (Oh yes, Renovations to the house after the girls became children included an upstairs bedroom and bath) to fix the shower Angelita decided to break. (Pure evil this girl, the twin that no one expected) Halfway through fixing he felt a slight chill. He turned and went to the girls room, only to find the Grim Reaper standing there waiting for him. Kyle’s heart stopped and he began to weep. He didn’t get to say goodbye to Kingston, Neveah, Angelita, or Nicole. He wasted his last day knocking on the rich whore up the street’s door only to be turned down to see his new-born son. His body was now gone and he moped around the house in ghost form. He found Nicole and gave her one last Woo Hoo (as a ghost. Yes, yes you can) and threaded off into the netherworld, never to be seen again.