Contests: LittleBigPlanet and Penny Arcade

Just a quick reminder of the contests we're running right now:

To win a copy of the Penny Arcade game, grab a Penny Arcade comic and remix it. Replace the word balloons, mix and match panels from different comics; whatever you like. Send the result as an attachment to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject PRECIPICE CONTEST. You won't be judged on the image quality, so feel free to use Paint if you want, but make it good. The final date for entry to this contest is Thursday October 2nd at noon GMT.

To win entry into the LittleBigPlanet beta, fire an email to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with your SackBoy design and the subject LBP CONTEST. You can find Media Molecule's template here or you can create your own. Entry for this contest closes on Thursday October 2nd at noon GMT.

Both of these contests are only available to UK residents.

Multiwinia, PC - Review

Multiwinia, PC - £12.83 on Steam, or £15 direct from Introversion (with various other options too), or a boxed retail copy for £15.99 from the 3rd of October.

Review by LewieP



Multiwinia is a damn pretty game.

That's probably the first thing you'll notice about it. Introversion have a real flair for visual design, and Multiwinia is no different. I described it as "TRON: Total War" in the podcast, and I think that's a pretty fair assessment. The digital skies and vector mountains are really stunning to behold, and you can zoom right in, or pan right out to see whatever detail or scale you want. The humble system requirements mean that pretty any PC will be able to play it (2.0GHz/512MB RAM/GeForce 6200 or Radeon 9600), and the Mac and Linux versions are on the way shortly. It runs great on my PC, with a really solid framerate.

In an industry where the overwhelming trend in games it to strive for a gritty, realistic, aesthetic, Multiwinia serves as both a breath of fresh air, and a reminder that whatever tech games may have under the bonnet, good art direction will always trump megaflops and bump mapping.

That's not to say Multiwinia is just a pretty face, it's as clever as it is beautiful.

I'm not even going to attempt to place it within the boundaries of a genre. It has elements of an RTS, to be sure, but it disregards as many of the conventions of the genre as it follows. Essentially, you have a bunch of guys and you have to battle over resources, territory and control points.

There are various gametypes, each with different objectives and conditions for victory, but it always boils down to testing your micromanagement skills, strategic skills, observation and spacial awareness. When all of your spawn points are in order, suddenly your opponent will get a power up that tips things in their favour. Once you've dealt with that, a power up crate will land near one of your guys. Once you've got that, you'll loose a spawn point, and so on. There is a fantastic flow to the games. They are not so fast paced that it's hard to keep up, but there is always just a little bit more going on that you can ever completely keep up with. There is never time to sit back and watch the battle unfold. The matches are always time limited, and more often than not an early lead can be very quickly eroded.

The power-ups are pretty crazy, some of them border on being over-powered, and the right one at the right time can really sway a battle. They tap into similar feeling as the equivalent mechanic in the worms games, and are just as inventive as the weapons and power-ups in worms. Planting an ant's nest near your opponents spawn point never gets old, and the nuclear launch is appropriately epic.

The various gun turrets feel fantastic, you can leave the to be automated, or for precision aiming, you can take direct control of them. You get a fantastic sense of the scale of the battles from this position, and can take out specific targets (although you have to be careful of friendly fire).

It's billed as a straight up multiplayer game, but about a third of the time I've spent with it has been offline, and even against bots it is engaging.

Multiwinia is to 'serious' RTS games what Smash Brothers is to Virtua Fighter. There are definitely big elements of chance in there, and it is certainly less technical than it's peers, but it is often a hell of a lot more fun.

Multiwinia is tight, fluid and really does march to it's own beat. There is a lot to love here, every match is different, and it's an experience you will not find anywhere else.



Discuss it in the forums

Multiwinia, PC - £12.83 on Steam, or £15 direct from Introversion (with various other options too), or a boxed retail copy for £15.99 from the 3rd of October.

The SavyGamer Podcast, Episode 6


It's Episode 6 of the SavyGamer Podcast, on the web and in your ears! This week we interview Dorian Kieken of BioWare on designing a Sonic RPG and the future of BioWare games on DS. We're now listed on iTunes, too!



Show notes (Highlight to view):
00:00 Pre-show
00:10 Opening
00:47 Welcome
01:07 I don't actually have a pinky finger.
01:21 More contests!
05:03 Halo Mythic
13:15 Vidmaster challenge - help me!
[NOTE - I've actually completed this now, thanks to those that helped!]

14:46 End of Halo talk! Live's going down on Monday.
15:25 Is the NXE due in November?
17:20 CheapAssGamer Xbox Pure rumour (Hi Cheapy!)
20:53 Sony's video controversy and DRM
27:13 The Weekly Burnout Update
29:25 The EA Download Manager
33:15 Digital Distributiionxdnugfnjdnrog - Peggle XBLA
35:26 Interview with Dorian Kieken, Associate Producer for Sonic Chronicles
50:10 End of interview, discussion about Sonic's story
52:50 We're both awful at maths
54:00 Bargains of the week
De Blob, Dark Sector
56:17 Microsoft Points deal no more...
57:50 What we've been playing - Rock Band, Multiwinia, Mass Effect, and more!
1:11:15 Close

Link dump:
KEEP IT CLEAN
I Love Bees archive
Sonic the Comic
Cree Summer - Voice Actress from everything including Mass Effect

Total Runtime: 1:11:23
Total Filesize: 67MB

Contest:
To win a copy of the Penny Arcade game, grab a Penny Arcade comic and remix it. Replace the word balloons, mix and match panels from different comics; whatever you like. Send the result as an attachment to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject PRECIPICE CONTEST. You won't be judged on the image quality, so feel free to use Paint if you want, but make it good. The final date for entry to this contest is Thursday October 2nd at noon GMT.

To win entry into the LittleBigPlanet beta, fire an email to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with your SackBoy design and the subject LBP CONTEST. You can find Media Molecule's template here or you can create your own. Entry for this contest closes on Thursday October 2nd at noon GMT.



Got feedback on the show? Post a comment, or email us:
LewieP - lewiep@savygamer.co.uk
Will - willeth@gmail.com


NoE Announces cross promotion with EMI Backstage


Nintendo of Europe have just launched a partnership with EMI Backstage to exchange Nintendo Stars for music downloads.

If, like me and anyone else who had a Gamecube, you have got stacks of Nintendo Stars for use in the stars catalogue, but are sick of it never haveing anything worthwhile in stock, there may finally something decent to use it on.

Nintendo will be letting you exchange your Stars for downloads from EMI Backstage, EMI's music download service. The pricing will be 350 Stars for a track, or 3,000 stars for an album.

Which on the basis of 4,000 stars = 1,000 Wii points, and 1,000 Wii points = £7.00, means it's £5.25 an Album, or 62p a track. Not bad pricing at all.

I've never used EMI Backstage, has anyone else? What's it like as a service.

Let's hope they don't manage to "Sell out" of digital goods, like they somehow manage to do with the Wii Points...

Head to the Music Voucher Shop to check it out.

Want

zeit²:

Purity:


I saw these on the IndieGames blog, highly recomended.

Xbox 360 Price Drop Round up



Microsoft just recently dropped the RRP for the Xbox 360 range, now the range breaks down like this:
£129.99 for the Arcade
£169.99 for the Premium (60gb)
£229.99 for the Elite

Fantastic value.

But even better prices can be had, retailers have discounted beyond the RRP, and put some pretty attractive bundles together. Here is a breakdown of the offers on the table.

Arcade
The Arcade system comes with a wireless controller, a 256 MB Memory Unit and an Xbox Live Arcade compilation disc featuring: Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy, Luxor 2, Pac-Man Championship Edition, and Uno.

In my opinion, it is definitely worth paying the extra to get a hard drive, but if you are on a tight budget, the Arcade is still a great buy.

The console on it's own is £119.98.

Here are some of the bundles on offer:
Xbox 360 Arcade + Dead or Alive 4/Halo 3/Forza 2/Lost Odyssey/Mass Effect/Too Human - £129.89 delivered
Xbox 360 Arcade + Gears of War - £129.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")
Xbox 360 Arcade + Battlefield Bad Company - £129.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Arcade + Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise - £129.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Arcade + Tiger Woods 09 - £129.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Arcade + Star Wars The Force Unleashed - £129.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Arcade + Mercenaries 2: World in Flames - £139.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")
Xbox 360 Arcade + Call of Duty 4: Game of the Year Edition - £139.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")
Xbox 360 Arcade + Extra Controller + Forza Motorsport 2 + Viva Piñata + Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Vol 1 - £150 delivered
Xbox 360 Arcade + Extra Controller + Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter + Gears of War + Mass Effect - £188.45 delivered (Apply code WDISC001BCP)


Premium
Since the premium has both had a hardware improvement (20gb to 60gb hard drive increase) and a price drop, it's easilly the best buy out of the range in my opinion.

The console on it's own is £159.98.

Here are some of the bundles on offer:
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + 2 Selected games (Dead or Alive 4/Halo 3/Forza 2/Lost Odyssey/Mass Effect/Too Human) - £169.89 delivered
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Gears of War - £169.98 delivered
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Battlefield Bad Company - £169.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise - £169.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Tiger Woods 09 - £169.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Star Wars The Force Unleashed - £169.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Mercenaries 2: World in Flames - £179.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Call of Duty 4: Game of the Year Edition - £179.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")
Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Lego Indiana Jones - £184.99 delivered


Elite
Up until recently, I would have said the 120gb drive on the Elite was pretty pointless, I couldn't imagine filling a 20gb drive. But with the coming dashboard update which will let you rip games to the hard drive, the space will definitely go to use.

The console on it's own is £219.98.

Here are some of the bundles on offer:
Xbox 360 Elite + 3 Selected games (Dead or Alive 4/Halo 3/Forza 2/Lost Odyssey/Mass Effect/Too Human) - £229.89 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Battlefield Bad Company - £229.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise - £229.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Tiger Woods 09 - £229.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Star Wars The Force Unleashed - £229.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Gears of War + Medal of Honor Airborne - £229.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Gears of War + Skate - £229.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Ninja Gaiden II - £239.99 delivered
Xbox 360 Elite + Mercenaries 2: World in Flames - £239.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")
Xbox 360 Elite + Call of Duty 4: Game of the Year Edition - £239.98 delivered (Apply code "XBXGAMEZ")


If you have any requests for any specific games, or see any bundles I might have missed, either let me know in the comments, or send an email to lewiep@savygamer.co.uk.

2100 Microsoft Points, £15

2100 Microsoft Points - £15.00 delivered

Rock Branded but can be used for anything. Cheapest price around so far with the demise of the Tesco deal.

Nintendo Wii - £159.99

Nintendo Wii - £159.99 delivered

Get 'em in for Christmas now if you'll be wanting one come December.

I need someone to coop Half-Life decay with

Wow, I've been wanting to play this for ages.

Half-Life: Decay was originally the coop addition to the PS2 release of Half-Life. No PC version existed.

Well, a team of modders have made a HL1 mod of it. All I know about it is that it's made by gearbox, you play 2 female scientists, and I was never going to play it on the PS2.

I don't know how to set up a game, but if you do, please do so, and either email (lewiep@savygamer.co.uk) me, or add me on steam (LewieP) and we can set a game up.

Official Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive

Official Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive - £79.99 delivered

Still stupidly expensive, you can get a 320gb laptop drive for under £60. One of my biggest complaints with the 360 hardware is that you have to use MS hard drives. Never mind...

Art Of Fighting: Anthology, PS2 - £11.99

Art Of Fighting: Anthology, PS2 - £11.99 delivered

Ridge Racer 7, PS3 - £12.99

Ridge Racer 7, PS3 - £12.99 delivered

Spider-Man 3, PC - £2.99

Spider-Man 3, PC - £2.99 delivered

Ignore the font down the side, this is indeed for the PC, not the PS3.

From memory, this version is pretty badly optimised, but I guess if you have a beast of a machine you should be fine.

Unreal Tournament III, PC - £9.89

Unreal Tournament III, PC - £9.89 delivered

Mass Effect, PC - £9.93

Mass Effect, PC - £9.93 delivered

Castlevania - Portrait Of Ruin, DS - £12.93

Castlevania - Portrait Of Ruin, DS - £12.93 delivered

Mario Kart, Wii - £27

Mario Kart, Wii - £27 delivered

Resistance 2, PS3 - £29.99

Resistance 2, PS3 - £29.99 delivered

Samurai Shodown Anthology, Wii - £16.65

Samurai Shodown Anthology, Wii - £16.65 delivered

Includes Samurai Shodown I, II, III, IV, V, V Special and VI

King of Fighters Anthology, Wii - £16.65

King of Fighters Anthology, Wii - £16.65 delivered

Includes King of Fighters '94, '95, '96, '97, and '98.

Siren Blood Curse, PS3 - £31.06

Siren Blood Curse, PS3 - £31.06 delivered

Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts, Xbox 360 - £27.47

Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts, Xbox 360 - £27.47 delivered

Not confirmed to include the code for Banjo Kazooie XBLA.

Viva Piñata/Forza 2 Double Pack, Xbox 360 - £13.05

Viva Piñata/Forza 2 Double Pack, Xbox 360 - £13.05 delivered

Wii Chess, Wii - £13.05

Wii Chess, Wii - £13.05 delivered

Mount and Blade, PC - £16.99

Mount and Blade, PC - £16.99 delivered

Wii Music, Wii - £29

Wii Music, Wii - £29 delivered

NXE - Zune integration?


Sorry if you came here looking for bargains, but I thought I'd just post this very quickly.

I noticed today that the Zune Marketplace (and the Social and Forums) are going down for maintenance tomorrow starting 12:01, the same time that Xbox LIVE and all of those services are being brought down for maintenance. Of course, I don't really know how these services work - maybe they're intrinsically linked - but as far as I'm aware, these services have never gone down at the same time before.

Now, Zune software 3.0 was just released. Maybe it's down for that and maybe it's just a crazy coincidence. But given that this will bring Texas Hold-em and Hexic to the player, there's a lot of cross-talk between the two systems. J Allard runs the thing, even, and Larry Hryb compared the Zune Marketplace and LIVE Marketplace to each other in his most recent podcast.

It makes so much business sense for Microsoft to have the Zune Marketplace available on the 360. The overhead is so small that even if a tiny percentage of LIVE users buy a song, they'll be profiting from it. They already have all that infrastructure in place - the only thing standing in the way is linking the two and designing an interface for it. And there's a new interface coming in a month or so.

I have to consider that they want to link everything at some point. Your Zune tag is the same as your Gamertag, Microsoft Points are interchangeable between the two, and there's precendent with how the Windows Live ID is interwoven into everything. Last year was Windows Messenger integration - is this year Zune's turn?

Update: More coincidences and speculation here, thanks ace.

Crysis Warhead - Review

Crysis Warhead, PC - £14.74 delivered

Review by Rook



Last time I fought these aliens it marked something of a downturn in the game. This time, there's a group of nano-suited Koreans on the ridge to the right and a plethora of aliens snaking through icy channels cut out of the surroundings. Cloak mode is on and I'm letting the North Koreans deal with the threat. It's tempting to grab the high ground lay down fire, but I'd be sandwiched between two sides. A brief moment hauled up to recharge and take stock is where it all goes a bit wrong. The first alien is taken down by a Gauss Rifle shot but two more have taken up predatory stances and are about to pounce, speed mode kicks in and leaves them behind. Underneath the Korean squad now, the new machine pistols are perfect for this. Leaping up behind, strength mode kills the recoil as I rip them apart, grinning. Nomad is gone, and in comes the Psycho.

Warhead really doesn't want to let up on this action, the rules have changed. Ammo caches lie everywhere, soldiers fall in one or two hits, and things explode in a shower of physics propelled debris. Everything from mortar fire pounding the land to the screaming jet fighters overhead dropping their payload leaves camera shaking and flecked with dirt. There's a comic hint that it's perhaps gone a bit to far in that every ambush that seemed to require at least one explosive barrel to be used as cover. It's a minor gripe, but keeps the action flowing. The stealthy isolation has now become a constant barrage of events, radio chatter keys you in on your objectives, air support provides covering fire and AI squad mates beckon you on. Here, you're a part of something bigger rather than just being that lonely soldier.

Every section comes and goes in short bursts, if you're not to keen on one part, then the mix-up with the next section will be sure to put you back in the game. It touches upon many gameplay staples; hold this area until support arrives, fight aboard this train, escort this vehicle. Yet it often comes up with it's own slight twist, the train will continue without you aboard. Take a step off, come at the ambush from a different angle, then cut the corner and hop back on. Fire fights are now often as much about who you avoid as who you take on, the aliens present more as a third faction tangling with enemy soldiers. Prioritise threats, engage or move on as you pursue your objective.

And of course it goes without saying that the game is beautiful, although will still probably make you wish you'd spent a bit more on your graphics card. The audio stands out a bit more this time around, the score mixing in with the echoes of water falling down the corridors in the quieter moments, or the guttural thumps as something else goes up in flames . It's still not as convincing as it needs to be to match up with the visuals but it's moving in the right direction. As is the story, Psycho may play out as a caricature, but a likeable one and the banter keeps the narrative moving along. The game isn't long maybe 5 hours, and even on the hardest difficulties won't offer anything too challenging, but for those wanting more Warhead includes the multiplayer experience from original with a few enhancements. The simplicity of the new team death match as well as the rebalancing helps to bring the suit back as the focus of the online play. Rather than just shoot or be shot, the multitude of choices always lets you try something different, do you close in with speed or take to high vantage points with strength? And once there do you cloak to remain hidden, or let armour soak up the enemy fire. It's these choices that make every encounter different and a well timed suit combinations always leaves a smile on your face.

It'd be hard not to recommend Warhead, for those that loved the original it's a chance to revisit the story and setting from a different angle. Those that struggled may just find that Psycho is the right embodiment for their style of game, and both should take a new look at the online offerings.

Rating - Strawberry (http://xkcd.com/388/)

Discuss it in the forums



Crysis Warhead, PC - £14.74 delivered

De Blob, Wii - £17.04

De Blob, Wii - £17.04 delivered

Update: Sadly they have put the price up now, but it's still £17.99 at play.com

The SavyGamer Podcast, Episode 5


Severely pushing the meaning of 'Every Friday', it's the SavyGamer Podcast! This week we announce a load of contest winners and interview some instrumental folks at Introversion about developing Multiwinia and their stance on digital distribution and DRM.



Show notes (Highlight to view):
00:00 Opening
00:36 WELCOME!
01:22 Contest talk - you still have time to enter
07:00 GRcade affiliation
09:55 Professionalism!
11:43 Multiwinia is out 'today' (Bear in mind this show was supposed to come out on Friday :S)
13:41 Interview with Chris Delay, Creative Director at Introversion
28:50 End of interview
29:54 The weekly Burnout chat
37:13 Mirror's Edge release date and demo details
39:12 Life with PlayStation
39:55 Home video sharing no longer happening
42:04 Fable money exploit
44:25 We're making segue now
46:42 Portal Prelude - why isn't there a Portal level editor?
49:13 Sonic 2 HD tech demo
52:15 The Sonic Cycle. Apparently?
53:11 The problem with Sonic
57:15 Where the hell did Pokémon Platinum come from?
1:03:12 Lewie's passionate about business
1:03:51 Interview with Thomas Arundel, Commercial Director for Introversion
1:18:10 End of interview

1:19:20 What we've been playing
1:20:00 Rock Band surprise just around the corner
1:22:01 More Multiwinia!
1:24:55 Pure demo - four letter games!
1:28:41 Bargain of the week!
STALKER, Dragon Quest: CotC, Beyond Good and Evil, Rockstar Table Tennis
1:41:09 360 price drop
1:48:30 Close

Link dump:
D-Pad
Press Start Online
Introversion Development Blog
Portal Prelude
Sonic 2 HD
The Sonic Cycle
Multiwinia
There is actually a game called 'Race'.

Total Runtime: 1:48:39
Total Filesize: 99.5MB

Contest:
To win a copy of the Penny Arcade game, grab a Penny Arcade comic and remix it. Replace the word balloons, mix and match panels from different comics; whatever you like. Send the result as an attachment to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject PRECIPICE CONTEST. You won't be judged on the image quality, so feel free to use Paint if you want, but make it good.



Got feedback on the show? Post a comment, or email us:
LewieP - lewiep@savygamer.co.uk
Will - willeth@gmail.com


Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, Wii - £27.99

Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, Wii - £27.99

You may know this as Wario Land: Shake It! Did you know that this is out on Friday? It almost completely passed me by.

2100 Microsoft Points, £13

2100 Microsoft Points - £13.00 delivered

Just as Tesco seem to be having trouble keeping their stock in (and have raised their price to £14.97), Zavvi start selling them for just under a pound cheaper than we were used to. Wonderful.

Thanks to Ashcroft for this.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Wii - £17.93

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Wii - £17.93 delivered

Zack And Wiki Quest For Barbaros' Treasure, Wii - £17.93

Zack And Wiki Quest For Barbaros' Treasure, Wii - £17.93 delivered

We Love Golf, Wii - £14.93

We Love Golf, Wii - £14.93 delivered

Dark Sector, PS3 - £9.93

Dark Sector, PS3 - £9.93 delivered

Dark Sector, Xbox 360 - £9.93

Dark Sector, Xbox 360 - £9.93 delivered

BioShock, Xbox 360 - £13.99

BioShock, Xbox 360 - £13.99 delivered

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, PC - £3.20

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, PC - £3.20 on steam

Just for this weekend

Lego Batman, PC - £14.99

Lego Batman, PC - £14.99 delivered

Xbox 360 Premium (20gb) - £148.98

Xbox 360 Premium (20gb) - £148.98 delivered

Wow, an incredible deal if you aren't that bothered by hard drive size. There are a bunch of game promotions included too, like Halo 3 or Gears of War for £10 each.

Stranglehold, Xbox 360 - £4.99

Stranglehold, Xbox 360 - £4.99 delivered

Fairly fun, throwaway action game. Worth a fiver if you are looking for something to play.

Update: Sadly it has sold out now.

Xbox 360 Elite - £229.99

UPDATE: OK, all the different retailers are dropping their prices at the moment, and offering different promotions.

I'll wait for the dust to settle and do one big run down of all the best offers, don't buy a 360 in the meantime.

DEFCON + Uplink, PC/MAC/Linux - £4.71

DEFCON + Uplink, PC/MAC/Linux - £4.71

Spend £15 or more for free P&P.

Cracking deal. As you'll no doubt see in today's podcast, I've got a lot of love for Introversion.

This deal is for DEFCON, a game about Global Thermonuclear War. Everybody dies.

Uplink is a hacker game that was too hard for me to play when it first came out (I was 14), but was certainly very interesting.

The Red Star, PS2 - £2.49

The Red Star, PS2 - £2.49 delivered

Buy this game.

It is a Shmup/Beat 'em up. With RPG-light elements.
It is set in civil war torn Neo-Russia
It has magic, and guns, and explosions.
It has references to Zoolander, The Office and Contra.
It is superb.

Megaman Star Force 2 - Zerker X Saurian, DS - £16

Megaman Star Force 2 - Zerker X Saurian, DS - £16 delivered

Stop laughing, these games are one of my guilty pleasures.

And yes, they are all the same.

Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Halo 3 or Viva Piñata - £169.97

Xbox 360 Premium (60gb) + Halo 3 or Viva Piñata - £169.97 collect in store

The price drop is now in effect, but this is (so far) the best place to get a premium from, since it comes with either Halo 3 or Viva Piñata for free. Just hit the "special offers" tab, and pick which ever one you want. You could also get it delivered for an extra £5.95.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, PSP - £12.99

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, PSP - £12.99 delivered

Student discount available too, brings it to £11.60.

SavyGamer is proud to announce the launch of a new partnership

You might have noticed a new link up there on the top right, here's what's going on:

Long version:
On Thursday the 14th of August, GamesRadar, the general games site for Future Publications, announced that they would be shutting down the GamesRadar UK forums, and politely requested that every sod off to the USA GamesRadar forums.

The community of the GamesRadar forum rejected that, and from the ashes of GamesRadar has risen a new independent forum. GRcade.

This new forum is not directly connected to any main site, it is just a forum for people who love "Games + Stuff". There is no corporate backing, and the only reason it exists is because the old GamesRadar community wanted to stick together.

Now, to ensure that there was a constant flow of new members to keep the community alive, it was decided that they would tie to other sites with links to the GamesRadar community, and so arose the idea for "Official Partner sites", one of which is SavyGamer (the other two are D+PAD and Press Start Online). The idea is that I link to them, and they link back to me, hence the banner for SavyGamer on GRcade.

However, I want to take that idea even further.

I'd love for you guys to register at GRcade, and I will be exploring loads of different ways for the community here and there to interact with each other. I'll be linking to threads in GRcade when it's relevant, and if there's any interest, I'll be offering opportunity for GRcade forumers to contribute to SavyGamer in a range of ways. If you do register, maybe put something in your sig mentioning that you've come from SavyGamer so that people know where you've come from.

Short Version:
Awesome new forum! Check it out!


Boring legal stuff:
There is a great mod team, but SavyGamer is in no way responsible for the content of GRcade. Opinions represented in GRcade don't necessarily represent those of SavyGamer.

Too Human, Xbox 360 - £19.99

Too Human, Xbox 360 - £19.99 delivered

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, PC - £5.99

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, PC - £5.99 delivered

Student discount available too, brings it to £5.40.

Guitar Hero 3: Legends Of Rock, Wii - £39.99

Guitar Hero 3: Legends Of Rock, Wii - £39.99 delivered

Student discount available too, brings it to £35.99.

New International Track & Field, DS - £14.99

New International Track & Field, DS - £14.99 delivered

Student discount available too, brings it to £12.50.

Soul Bubbles, DS - £14.99

Soul Bubbles, DS - £14.99 delivered

Student discount available too, brings it to £12.50.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Xbox - £2.49

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Xbox - £2.49 delivered

Not quite as good as Chaos Theory, but still damn good.

This is 360 compatible

Rockstar Presents: Table Tennis, Xbox 360 - £4.99

Rockstar Presents: Table Tennis, Xbox 360 - £4.99 delivered

Star Trek: Legacy, Xbox 360 - £4.99

Star Trek: Legacy, Xbox 360 - £4.99 delivered

Earth Defence Force 2017, Xbox 360 - £4.99

Earth Defence Force 2017, Xbox 360 - £4.99 delivered

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Xbox - £2.49

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Xbox - £2.49 delivered

One of the most original and interesting first person shooters I have played in a long time.

Sadly, not 360 compatible.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Xbox - £2.49

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Xbox - £2.49 delivered

Utterly brilliant game, one of the best looking Xbox games, fantastic level design, and an incredible soundtrack from Amon Tobin, highly recomended.

It is 360 compatible, and looks great upscaled.

Metal Slug Anthology, PS2 - £4.99

Metal Slug Anthology, PS2 - £4.99 delivered

Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, Xbox - £2.49

Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, Xbox - £2.49 delivered

This is 360 compatible

Urban Chaos: Riot Response, Xbox - £2.49

Urban Chaos: Riot Response, Xbox - £2.49 delivered

This is not 360 compatible.

God Hand, PS2 - £4.99

God Hand, PS2 - £4.99 delivered

Beyond Good & Evil, PS2 - £2.49

Beyond Good & Evil, PS2 - £2.49 delivered

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, PS2 - £2.49

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, PS2 - £2.49 delivered

Advance Wars: Dark Conflict, DS - £9.99

Advance Wars: Dark Conflict, DS - £9.99 delivered

Spore, PC/MAC - Review

Spore, PC/MAC - £26.98 delivered

Review by LewieP



Spore is life, the universe and everything, packaged up in a charming, albeit sometimes infuriating, user friendly click-a-thon. It is one of the most important PC games released in a long time, and it wouldn't surprise me if in 10 years time we are feeling it's impact. That said, it is far from perfect.

The tech Will Wright and his team have put together is pretty astounding. The game design geek in my head is excited at the prospects of what is in store for this kind of procedural user generated content stuff, and the creature creator is both robust and simple.

The community integration is superb, and should be the model for how to nurture a creative community around a game. Maxis have made it incredibly easy to share, and enjoy creations of your friends directly in the game. The Sporepedia, a database of all the Spore creations, if just fantastic, and the Sporecasts, targeted discrete packets of content, are a brilliant way of sifting through the huge body of content to find what you want.

The scale and scope are fantastic. You really do start off on a cellular level, and it scopes all the way up to intergalactic colonisation. You genuinely feel like the other species you encounter are living and breathing in their environment. The level and creature design feels natural because it is natural. There is something I can't quite put my finger on about Spore where it has nailed the feeling of exploration.

Each stage has it's own shortcomings though, in particular, the space stage is a bit disappointing. Somehow it manages to reduce adventuring over huge galaxies filled with unique and excited species and civilisations to playing intergalactic janitor, having to keep a watchful eye on your home planet is no fun when you want to be off adventuring. There is still a lot of fun to be had, but I wish some of the micromanagement wasn't so fiddly.

This is a really easy criticism to make, but that doesn't make it any less valid - No doubt EA have been looking at the astronomical sales of the entirety of The Sims franchise, and want to target a similar market segment with Spore. There have been a bunch of design concessions made to make Spore more accessible. For the most part these are harmless, but every now and again something pops up that just irks me.

There are also obvious gaps which future expansion packs are going to fill. The flora editor has been held back for an expansion pack, and I can see scope for expansion upon combat, the creature stage, and definitely the whole 'ecosystem' aspect of the Space stage.

I couldn't review Spore without mentioning the DRM. Quite simply, I would not have bought Spore with the current DRM it has. The SecuROM DRM requires you to connect to the internet to install the game, and you will only ever be allowed to install it 3 times without having to contact EA, where on a case-by-case basis they will decide if you are allowed to install it again. This is in my opinion unacceptable, I have reinstalled Halflife, Deus Ex, Alpha Centauri, upwards of twenty times, and it's not unreasonable to want to install, uninstall and reinstall a game as many times as you want if you have paid for it.

Whilst I am at it. Please EA, continue to put your games on Steam. All your games, not just Crysis. I got it from the EA Store, where it costs £40, £13 more than a physical copy. You also only have access to the download for 6 months, after then, unless you have backed up the installer (or paid the £3 for "Extended Download Service" to let you download it for up to 2 years), you are out of luck.

The launch was plagued by technical issues too. Authentication servers went down, Spore.com went down, and my EA store download corrupted.

Honestly, it is a fantastic game, and unlike anything before it, and it should be played by everyone. But the whole experience is surrounded by some easily avoidable nuisances.



Spore, PC/MAC - £26.98 delivered

Xbox 360 Price Drop now official



As reported previously, the Xbox 360 will be getting a price drop.

It is, however, not just a retailer specific promotion, but an official Microsoft pricedrop, coming into effect on the 19th of September.

The new official prices for the Xbox 360 are as follows -
£129.99 for the Arcade
£169.99 for the Premium (60gb)
£229.99 for the Elite

Neil Thompson, senior regional director of Microsoft UK had this to say -

"Xbox 360 has now sold over 20 million consoles worldwide and due to its unprecedented success, we are now able to pass on the rewards of that success to the consumer with a new retail pricing from £129.99.

With more games, more entertainment with Xbox Live and now even more value, we are looking forward to welcoming more customers into the leading next generation console, Xbox 360."

I'll be keeping an eye out for clearance prices on old 20gb stock, if anyone has any stock left that is.

As it is though, that's a cracking price drop, to be honest I thought the 360 was already pretty reasonably priced, but the 19th is going to be the perfect time to pick up a 360.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, DS - £7.99

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, DS - £7.99 collect in store

Not a great deal of stock, but there is definitely some about.

Mercenaries 2: World In Flames, PS3 - £32.99

Mercenaries 2: World In Flames, PS3 - £32.99 delivered

Mercenaries 2: World In Flames, Xbox 360 - £32.99

Mercenaries 2: World In Flames, Xbox 360 - £32.99 delivered

Dragon Quest: The Chapters of the Chosen, DS - £17.49

Dragon Quest: The Chapters of the Chosen, DS - £17.49 delivered

Speed Racer, Wii - £9.99

Speed Racer, Wii - £9.99 delivered

Heavenly Sword, PS3 - £12.99

Heavenly Sword, PS3 - £12.99 delivered

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, PS3 - £12.99

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, PS3 - £12.99 delivered

Bleach: Shattered Blade, Wii - £11.93

Bleach: Shattered Blade, Wii - £11.93 delivered

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Xbox 360 - £13

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Xbox 360 - £13 delivered

Pure, PS3 - £28.99

Pure, PS3 - £28.99 delivered

Pure, Xbox 360 - £28.99

Pure, Xbox 360 - £28.99 delivered

Bakushow, DS - Review

Bakushow, DS - £24.99 delivered

Review by LewieP



I first booted up Bakushow, and found to great surprise that there is no single player mode. That's fine though, I'm not going to discriminate against a game for being multiplayer only. I will say this though, the packaging should certainly be more explicit in telling you that if you only have access to one DS it is basically just a title screen.

Not that there is much else here even if you do have multiple players.

There is absolutely nothing to Bakushow that could not be done, in many ways better, with Pictochat, or hell, even a pencil and paper. There is essentially no game here whatsoever.

The game, if you can call it that, is that players take turns to write or draw something on the DS, then all players must answer the 'challenge' within a set time period. Then players vote for who answered it best.

Then you do it again.

And again.

That's it. There are no built in challenges, there are no minigames, there is nothing.

If you are playing with just two people, then the voting system is broken, because each player just votes for themselves continually. Resulting in player 1 winning by virtue of being player 1.

I kept searching for an extra mode or something, and found nothing. I genuinely thought I had somehow missed the actual game, but alas, I had just played it all already and not realised.

I am utterly shocked that anyone had the disrespect for their players to put this on a cartridge and charge Twenty Five Pounds for it.

The only thing Bakushow succeeds in is making you wish Nintendo had of put a few more features in Pictochat.

According to the guys who made it - "If you think this game is boring, you are boring." That is not how things work. They do not have the right to say this. I think Bakushow is boring because it is a bad game, no other reason. Since when have developers been able to put out disclaimers regarding your opinion?

Do not buy Bakushow, please. In fact, if you see anyone in GAME (since that's the only retailer that will dare to sell it) pick it up off the shelf, I implore you to tell them not to buy it. Bakushow is contentless shovelware, there is no game there whatsoever.

The SavyGamer Podcast, Episode 4


In this episode we discuss why we've skipped a fortnight, and I get very excited and interrupt Lewie a lot. VGChartz are mainly responsible.



Show notes (Highlight to view):
00:00 Opening
00:36 Welcome
00:45 The Lost Episode
03:12 Contests! [Link]
05:00 I talk about a shame tarp, here. That's a weird reference. [Link]
07:19 Are Harmonix a little insensitive?
08:31 New Rock Band song - Stephen Colbert
[Note: This song is now available on PSN but was not at the time of recording]

11:32 Left 4 Dead demo announced by Gabe Newell - but when?
14:45 Is the New Xbox Experience going to be relaunching the console?
15:45 No. No it isn't. We spend a bit too much time debating why it isn't.
21:32 But when is it coming out?
22:32 Resistance 2 beta [Link]
25:31 Anti-Spore. After recording, it turns out that this was a massive Rick Roll. [Link]
26:23 Fracture demo coming soon
28:50 So there was a Half-Life Episode 4? [Link]
34:18 Tons of bargains this week!
Bargains of the week:
Assassin's Creed, 360 - £7.99
The Darkness, 360 - £4.99
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, DS - £17.93
41:50 Playing Rock Band with my family
43:34 Lewie's mummy on Defence Grid: The Awakening
45:32 Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball
47:25 Castle Crashers, poo, and a little clan discussion
50:39 We should have had more 2D games
51:49 BAKUSHOW - the game that would be very boring to play with us
55:53 Contest details
58:55 Something happened here with the audio, not sure what. I should say "We'd done the barrel rolls, but we needed to wait for him to do one degree of flatspin, but he thought we still had to do barrel rolls."
59:46 Rainslick contest
1:01:05 Close
1:01:15 Minute of Silence

Link dump:
SavyGamer Contests
Vault 77: One Man, and a Crate of Puppets
GamerDNA (my page on 360voice)
Battlefield Heroes
SOCOM Confrontation
SupCom
Resistance 2 beta
Anti-Spore (sorry for the above - couldn't resist! :P)
Half-Life Episode 4 Thread

Total Runtime: 1:02:15
Total Filesize: 59MB

Contest info:
For the SOCOM beta, send an email to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject SOCOM CONTEST and your story.
For the swag, send an email to lewiep -at- savygamer -dot- co -dot- uk with the subject SWAG CONTEST and your justification.
For the Precipice special edition, send an email to willeth -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject PRECIPICE CONTEST and your comic as an attachment.



Got feedback on the show? Post a comment, or email us:
LewieP - lewiep@savygamer.co.uk
Will - willeth@gmail.com


CoD 4 Variety Map Pack, 360 - 400MSP

The Variety Map Pack for Call of Duty 4 is half price until Monday at 8am GMT. These are the maps that are included in the Game of the Year (goatee) edition.

It's been knocked down from 800 points (~£5.32) to 400 points (~£2.66).

All Sterling values in this post are compared to Tesco.com points pricing. If you get your points elsewhere then the equivalent cost will be higher. No word yet on whether this discount is also available on PSN.

Xbox 360 Price Drop



Looks like Woolies is going to be dropping the price of their Xbox 360 consoles.

£129.99 for the Arcade
£169.99 for the Premium (60gb)
£229.99 for the Elite

Here's a photo, supposedly from a Woolies employee. This would be in line with their recent price drops, if you remember they dropped the Wii to £159.99.

Now, I can't guarantee this will work, but if you want to try and trick the system and reserve yourself a console, so you can be sure to have one, this might help.

If you order one over the phone (0844 811 7111) they will hold it for you, so you can just turn up and pay and collect it on a set day. They will hold onto items for some time (if I remember correctly, a week), so if you order one now, they will give you a date for when you can collect it. Then, you can wait for the price drop, and just turn up and ask for it at the lower price when the price drop does happen. If the price drop doesn't happen any time soon (since I can't say when this will happen), no matter, you can just cancel the order, and not have to pay a penny.

Thanks to Engadget for the heads up. Stay tuned for SavyGamer for more on this as it becomes available.

Multiwinia + Darwinia, PC - £13.28

If you pre-purchase Multiwinia on steam, you get the fantastic Darwinia for free. Comes to £13.28 by my maths.

If you haven't already got/played Darwinia, I highly recommend it. It's a wonderful, unique, beautiful game. Very indie, but at the same time, very polished, and it has a great sense of humour (be sure to download the PDF of the manual too).

Dewys Adventure, Wii - £9.99

Dewys Adventure, Wii - £9.99 delivered

Endless Ocean, Wii - £13.99

Endless Ocean, Wii - £13.99 delivered

De Blob, Wii - £17.03

De Blob, Wii - £17.03 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, DS - £9.43

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, DS - £9.43 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Gears of War 2, Xbox 360 - £28.43

Gears of War 2, Xbox 360 - £28.43 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Thanks to John for the tip.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, PC - Review

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, PC - £15.89 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Review by Rook



Making your way through the driving rain, the remnants of the abandoned town of Limansk stretches out ahead. Somewhere over the other side is the reactor core, the heart of the zone. Shuttered windows, and nailed up doors leave only the streets which look oh so very open. With the warning of an ambush ahead fresh in mind I find myself pressing up against the few ruined cars that have long since been abandoned. A cursory sweep with binoculars doesn't give anything away, but a moment later lightning baths the fronts of the buildings and in a window, for a brief second, a black silhouette is outlined in cold white light. Raising the scope of the silenced rifle, the figure remains a shadow in a patch of gloom, but it's enough. Raising the sights just a little to factor in the bullet drop, the trigger is pulled and the inevitable happens: "This is XRay Engine crash reporting client. To help the development process, please Submit Bug or save report and email it manually".

And it's gone. All the atmosphere, all the tension is converted into petty annoyance. I should be enjoying this game, but it feels as though someone is having fun with a bizarre metagame. Instead of probing for anomalies, your hunting for crash bugs. Which scripted event will trigger it next? The game's story (very much a rehash of the first game) is quickly replaced by trips to the forums, the discovery of an [Unofficial Fix] thread a greater prize than any artefact. Minor bugs abound, the Directx10 graphics corrupt in the rain, the AI occasionally decides not to initialise on loading, the quick save feature doesn't work etc. But these are simply part and parcel of a game, the slight quirks are almost more annoying. It's not that the AI can throw grenades further than Olympians could dream, it's not that they do this with pinpoint accuracy, without being able to see . It's that they do all this without any possible knowledge of where you are.

Getting away from all that, Clear Sky manages to deliver on so much of what was promised with the original Stalker, it's a living breathing world. The fire fights remain amongst the best that any game offers, brutal and unrelenting. Standing out in the open is a sure fire way of needing to hit the reload key, but hunker down in cover and soon you'll be pinned down and surrounded. The faction wars add in friendly squads, and the storyline is often best left forgotten as you join in their patrols. Small skirmishes soon give way to fully fledged battles for territory. Grenades, tracers and screams fill the air, and then as quickly as it starts it dies out again, and the scavenging can begin. The scripted events can be more hit and miss, having played through 8/10ths of the game without limits, it feels odd to be pinned down by a single sniper that can't be killed despite repeated headshots. At other times it's pitch perfect. Making your way through the distorted swirls of radiation pockets and gravity anomalies you swear you can almost see something move ahead. It's not long before the nervous friendly AI notice the same thing and then open fire predator style. By the time you make it to your destination, the rest of the squad lie torn apart, dotted along the route.

As a game it manages to be both beautiful and ugly at the same time. Much like the real 'zone', it's a world you'd hate to visit, but could stare endlessly at pictures of long since forgotten play parks, the abandoned flats and houses slowly being reclaimed by nature, or just the ever changing (and rarely clear) sky. Catch a zone at the wrong time of day then a simple zombie duck hunt turns into another gaming session abandoned until daylight returns both in the real world and in the game world. The voice acting, whilst not brilliant is amiable enough, the minimalist sound track adding just enough to keep things going with the real stars being the guttural sounds, the footsteps, the creaking, or the moans that leave you feeling not quite as alone as you'd like to be.

In the end, I have the feeling that Clear Sky will depend more on the player than anything else. It's a game that won't tell you when you've made a mistake, but just leave you with that sinking feeling halfway through a zone when you realise you really should have bought the more expensive suit of armour, or that might be another, less dangerous way around. It often offers just enough of a hint of what you should be doing, but similarly leaves enough doubt that the less intrepid might miss the cues. Yes, artefacts are hard and dangerous to find, but you're a stalker, it's worth the risk. Yes, bad things happen in the zone, but you're a stalker, you're prepared for them. Yes, scraping together a living in the zone is tough, but you're a stalker, it's what you do.

In the end saying that Stalker epitomises everything in PC gaming is as much of a low blow as it is a compliment. As a game though, it very much takes the highs with the lows. On the one hand it offers something so unique and so hardcore that it'll never appear in this form on a console. On the other, you are paying to beta test a game that may never be finished. GSC Game World could have won a lot of praise by following the path of CD-Project and re-releasing the original game patched up to how they intended. In the end they cashed out with another unfinished product.

Rating – Pineapple (http://xkcd.com/388/)



S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, PC - £15.89 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

PES 2009, PS3 - £28.43

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, PS3 - £28.43 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Sonic Chronicles - The Dark Brotherhood, DS - £17.03

Sonic Chronicles - The Dark Brotherhood, DS - £17.03 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Xbox 360 - £16.99

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Xbox 360 - £16.99 delivered

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, Xbox 360 - £23.99

Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, Xbox 360 - £23.99 delivered

John Woo Presents: Stranglehold, PS3 - £13

John Woo Presents: Stranglehold, PS3 - £13 delivered

Overlord, Xbox 360 - £9.99

Overlord, Xbox 360 - £9.99 delivered

Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros' Treasure, Wii - £16.99

Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros' Treasure, Wii - £16.99 delivered

Samba De Amigo, Wii - £25.93

Samba De Amigo, Wii - £24.63 delivered

Apply code "reward5" for 5% off

Yakuza, PS2 - £5

Yakuza, PS2 - £5 delivered

Perfect timing for anyone interested in the sequel, that's on the way.

SavyGamer Contests!

These were originally announced in the podcast for last week, but as it snarled itself up and I can't get it together in a timely fashion I'm going to post these here instead.

We have two competitions going this week. One of them is to win a bunch of stuff from Lewie's PAX swag bag! To win, simply fire off an email to him (lewiep -at- savygamer -dot- co -dot- uk) with the subject SWAG CONTEST justifying why you deserve it. Be creative and make us laugh! We'll judge these over the next week or so and announce the winner on Episode 5 of the podcast, available a week on Friday.

The second is for a SOCOM: Confrontation Beta code. The beta lasts until the 5th of October and if you haven't got in on it yet then this could be a rare chance for you. This one also requires a little bit of effort - SOCOM is being bundled with the official PS3 Bluetooth headset. I want you to describe something that happened to you in an online game, either positive or negative, revolving around the use of (or lack of) a headset. Bonus points are given for creativity. Send your entry to my email address (willeth -at- gmail -dot- com) with the subject SOCOM BETA CONTEST. As the beta only lasts until the 5th, I'll decide this one very soon, so get your entries in before Sunday at noon GMT. I'll email the winner their code by Sunday evening and they'll also get a shout-out on the show.

On Friday's episode of the podcast, Episode 4, we'll be giving away a Collector's Edition of the Penny Arcade game - On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode 1. As well as the game (which runs on PC, Mac, and Linux) and a printed manual with the prequel comic within, it contains a keyring, a custom Startling Developments D20, and a Precipice T-shirt. Make sure you listen to Episode 4 on Friday to find out how to enter.

Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to our PAX impressions, but hopefully this week's show will make up for it. See you on Friday!

Assassin's Creed, Xbox 360 - £7.99

Assassin's Creed, Xbox 360 - £7.99 delivered

Halo 3 - Collector's Edition, Xbox 360 - £19.99

Halo 3 - Collector's Edition, Xbox 360 - £19.99 delivered

TimeShift, Xbox 360 - £9.99

TimeShift, Xbox 360 - £9.99 delivered

The Darkness, Xbox 360 - £4.99

The Darkness, Xbox 360 - £4.99 delivered

Sorry about the podcast....

I didn't intentionally mislead you guys. We did record a podcast this week...

..Except technical issues made it completely unlistenable, basically the two sides of the conversation don't match up at all.

So we aren't going to put it up, but we'll record a new one this Friday.

In the meantime, you can listen to the new series of One Life Left, which has just gone live.

If you've not listened to it before, it's really great. The OLL crew definitely don't take themselves to seriously, and it is a lot of fun to listen to. Highly recomended.

If you are a long time fan, or like what you hear just based on episode one of this series, I suggest you vote for them in the GMAs, the game media awards. Just send an email to gma@intentmedia.co.uk explaining that you wish to vote for One Life left in the category of “best broadcast”.

It's technically an industry insider only award, so if you can blag that you are somehow involved in the games industry/media that would help (just say your from a blog if you have one.)

So yeah, thanks for your patience, next 'cast will be up on Friday, technology willing.

Ensemble Studios closing...


I've been a big fan of their games over the years, so it cuts me deep to see Microsoft close Ensemble Studios. They were behind the fantastic Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games, and are currently working on the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo RTS "Halo Wars".

Shacknews reports:

Confirming a story broken by Shacknews, Microsoft now says that it will shut down Halo Wars developer Ensemble Studios following the end of work on the company's upcoming RTS.

Microsoft issued a full statement on the news, which follows:
"Microsoft has decided to close Ensemble Studios following the completion of Halo Wars. After the closure, the Ensemble leadership team will form a new studio and has agreed to provide ongoing support for Halo Wars as well as work on other projects with Microsoft Game Studios.

The team at Ensemble has made invaluable contributions to the games industry with their Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games and with the highly anticipated release of Halo Wars. This decision does not reflect at all on Ensembles talent or the quality of Halo Wars. in fact, many people who have had a chance to test drive Halo Wars agree that it is on track to being a fantastic game.

This was a fiscally-rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path. While the decision to dissolve Ensemble was not an easy one, Microsoft is working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible.

As to our overall strategy at MGS, it remains the same. We are committed to growing MGS with world-class talent both internally and with our external partners around the globe. We have recently added some well-known developers to our team and will continue growing the team. Were particularly excited about the titles we have in the pipeline and continue to evaluate additional opportunities to bring incredible games to life with the industries best. Our investment in games has never been greater than it is today."


RIP Ensemble, and good luck to everyone who is going to be loosing their jobs in finding new, and enriching jobs elsewhere.

Triggers, PS3 - £1.99

Triggers, PS3 - £1.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

You stick these onto the L and R 2 buttons, and they make them into triggers, like the box 360 pad.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies, DS - £7.99

Geometry Wars: Galaxies, DS - £7.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Jam Sessions, DS - £5.99

Jam Sessions, DS - £5.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies, Wii - £8.99

Geometry Wars: Galaxies, Wii - £8.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Nintendo Classic Controller, Wii - £9.99

Nintendo Classic Controller, Wii - £9.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Wii Play, Wii - £25.99

Wii Play, Wii - £25.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Odin Sphere, PS2 - £12.99

Odin Sphere, PS2 - £12.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Update: I've heard that this is £9.99 in store at GAME, so maybe check there first.

Megaman ZX, DS - £7.99

Megaman ZX, DS - £7.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Kingdom Hearts 2, PS2 - £6.99

Kingdom Hearts 2, PS2 - £6.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, DS - £12.99

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, DS - £12.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Theme Park, DS - £8.99

Theme Park, DS - £8.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

Okami, Wii - £21.99

Okami, Wii - £21.99 delivered

Apply code "E10155087156447930" for £2 off.

That's with the special edition, extra pretty packaging too.

FIFA 09 - £37.99

FIFA 09, 360 - £37.99
FIFA 09, PS3 - £37.99

PES 2009, Xbox 360 - £36.99

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, 360 - £36.99

Football Manager 2009, PC/MAC - £17.43

Football Manager 2009, PC/MAC - £17.43 delivered

Apply code "FOOTY50" for 50p off.

Best pre-order price going.

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Xbox 360 - £24

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Xbox 360 - £24 delivered

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, PS3 - £29.99

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, PS3 - £29.99 delivered

Infinite Undiscovery, Xbox 360 - £19.99

Infinite Undiscovery, Xbox 360 - £19.99 delivered

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, PS2 - £5

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, PS2 - £5 delivered

Lair, PS3 - £9.99

Lair, PS3 - £9.99 Collect in store.

Help me decide

I can probably go to one of the two up and coming UK gaming events, not sure which I should go to.

I will have to pick between Gamecity and the Eurogamer Expo. Not sure which I should go for.

Any suggestions? Anyone going to either of them?

Discounted Xbox Live DLC

I don't know why this hasn't been posted yet - certain Xbox Live content is discounted until the end of October. These are as follows (all prices in MSP. GBP values are when compared to the Tesco.com deal):

Mass Effect
Bring Down The Sky - Was 400, now 300 (~£2.00)

Lost Odyssey
Triple Bonus Pack - Was 200, now 120 (~£0.80)

Forza 2
Motegi Track Pack - Was 400, now 240 (~£1.60)
September Car Pack - Was 400, now 240 (~£1.60)
December Car Pack - Was 400, now 240 (~£1.60)
March Car Pack - Was 400, now 240 (~£1.60)

Oblivion
Shivering Isles - Was 2400, now 1600 (~£10.65)

Guitar Hero 3
Def Leppard - Was 500, now 360 (~£2.40)
Foo Fighters - Was 500, now 360 (~£2.40)
Classic Rock - Was 500, now 360 (~£2.40)

Beautiful Katamari
Accessory Set A - Was 200, now 120 (~£0.80)
Accessory Set B - Was 200, now 120 (~£0.80)
Accessory Set C - Was 200, now 120 (~£0.80)
Accessory Set D - Was 200, now 120 (~£0.80)
Special Accessory - Was 250, now 120 (~£0.80)
Just-size Stage - Was 300, now 210 (~£1.40)
Big-10 Stage - Was 200, now 140 (~£0.93)
Big-11 Stage - Was 200, now 140 (~£0.93)

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, PSP - £17.99

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, PSP - £17.99 delivered

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, PC - £9.99

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, PC - £9.99 delivered

Final Fantasy XII - Revenant Wings, DS - £9.99

Final Fantasy XII - Revenant Wings, DS - £9.99 delivered

Every Extend Extra, PSP - £4.95

Every Extend Extra, PSP - £4.95 delivered

Reconfirming the Morrison's deal

OK guys, I am pretty certain that the Morrison's deal is going to be happening, not only that, but it is going to include Wii and DS games too.

It will be any chart 360 or PS3 game for £25, any chart Wii game for £15 and any chart DS game for £12.

The big titles will probably sell out really fast, so I suggest going first thing on Monday morning to avoid disappointment.

Mass Effect, PC - £12.98

Mass Effect, PC - £12.98 delivered

Great for those who missed out on the Argos deal, and includes the Bring Down The Sky expansion. This is a limited time offer, so grab it if you want it.

Podcast update

We've not forgotten about the podcast, don't worry.

A combination of lack of time and technical barriers at PAX meant we didn't do one live from PAX.

Now that we are back, me being poorly, us both being jetlagged (hense the 4:30am post), other technical barriers and real life stuff have got in the way. Episode 4 should be up in the next 24 hours.

After that, we should hopefully be back to the normal schedule.

Thanks for your patience.

Titan Quest: Gold, PC - £5.93

Titan Quest: Gold, PC - £5.93 delivered

Pure, Xbox 360 - £29.73

Pure, Xbox 360 - £29.73 delivered

Just because there aren't enough 360 racing games with 4 letter names.

Trauma Centre: Second Opinion, Wii - £14.99

Trauma Centre: Second Opinion, Wii - £14.99 delivered

The id Superpack - £23.25

The id Superpack - £23.25 (or $34.99 + VAT) on Steam



All id games are half price on Steam this weekend, you can buy them individually, or get the id Superpack for half price too, which includes:

Commander Keen
DOOM 3
DOOM 3 Resurrection of Evil
DOOM II
Final DOOM
HeXen
HeXen II
HeXen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel
Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders
Master Levels for Doom II
Quake
Quake II
Quake II Mission Pack: Ground Zero
Quake II Mission Pack: The Reckoning
Quake III: Team Arena
Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon
Quake Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity
Quake III Arena
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Spear of Destiny
Ultimate DOOM
Wolfenstein 3D

Update:
Apparently, for the purposes of this promotion, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars is not considered an id game, and is exempt from the half price promotion. Quake 4 is not even on steam.