Late Night Consoling

  • Brothers in Arms to hold Wii remote, stylus in hands

    [wii] [ds]

    Long-rumored Wii and Nintendo DS editions of Gearbox's well received Brothers in Arms series of World War II shooters were officially announced by publisher Ubisoft today. First up is the simply named Brothers in Arms DS, which eschews the traditional FPS gameplay of the series in favor of a third person perspective. Aiming is handled with the stylus and, like an increasing number of modern third person shooters, the game features a contextual cover system. Frequently used WWII settings such as Normandy, North Africa, and Ardennes will be represented in the game across its three campaigns. Four-player multiplayer will be included, though it was not stated whether the game will support online play. Ubisoft sent over three initial screenshots of the game.

    Also in the works from Gearbox is Brothers in Arms Double Time for the Wii. Unlike Brothers in Arms DS, a brand new entry in the series, Double Time is a reworking of the two existing main games in the series, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PS2, Xbox, PC) and Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (PS2, Xbox, PC). Double Time takes the 31 combined levels of both games and adds Wii control as well as other features such as enhanced artificial intelligence.

    Ubisoft plans to ship Gearbox Software's Brothers in Arms DS for Nintendo DS this summer, with Brothers in Arms Double Time for Wii to follow in the fall.

  • PSP seeing price drop in US, shift in focus

    [psp]

    Sony Computer Entertainment America this week announced that its PSP system has received a $30 price reduction in the United States effective immediately, bringing the machine's suggested retail price down to $169.99. The move roughly aligns with PSP's second anniversary in North America; it launched on March 24, 2005. Along with the news came the addition of Ready at Dawn's Daxter and Sony Bend's Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror to the list of PSP Greatest Hits, conferring upon each a suggested retail price of $19.99.

    "We have always been passionate about making great entertainment accessible to everyone, and the new price for PSP, as well as the continued growth of the 'Greatest Hits' library, reflect our ongoing commitment to supporting and expanding the PSP community," said SCEA president Jack Tretton. "We are pleased that we are able to engineer savings for the consumer at this stage of PSP's lifecycle, allowing more individuals to experience PSP for the first time. In particular, we have recently seen a steady rise in the number of teens adopting PSP as their primary handheld entertainment system, and we expect the new price will accelerate that trend."

    Tretton's comment regarding teens reflects a revision of Sony's marketing efforts with PSP to more directly reach the 13-17 year old market as opposed to its more traditional 18-34 year old target demographic. Speaking to Wired News' Chris Kohler, PSP product manager John Koller elaborated on the new strategy, which is centered around a new advertising campaign whose slogan is "Dude, Get Your Own."

    Koller stated that teens value various aspects of the PSP, including its portability--"I can play it upstairs while my parents are watching the TV downstairs," he said as an example--and its media functionality. Sony plans to continue to focus on new multimedia functions for the device to be released as firmware updates.

    On the topic of games, Koller admitted that "Consumers don't want a mobile version" of existing console games--some have criticized the PSP for having a game library too much like that already available on the PlayStation 2. In that vein, he noted that the recently accidentally announced God of War PSP will be "entirely different than anything you can play on consoles." Third party publishers, too, have caught wind of the machine's shifting demographic. "You'll see a lot more teen-oriented titles launching," said Koller.

  • Gears of War update revealed from the future?

    [xbox360]

    In a post made to the official Gears of War site and quickly removed (and mirrored here), details on the recently announced new gametype for Epic's shooter were laid bare. Entitled Annex, the new gametype revolves around players taking and holding objectives to earn points. Maps contain two to five objectives situated at weapon spawn areas and each worth a total of 60 points that are granted to the occupying team over time. The first team to accrue the set number of points in a round wins. Unusually for Gears of War multiplayer games, Annex features infinite respawning over a standard 15-second spawn wave.

    Today's post concluded with the statement, "Annex became available as a Gears of War multiplayer game mode in the April 9 update." The usage of past tense suggests that the post was released prematurely. According to Microsoft, April 9 is not yet a confirmed release date for the gametype and title update that will accompany it.

  • Resident Evil 4 en route to Wii, or: You are the master of remaking

    [wii]

    Rumors of an enhanced Wii edition of Capcom's acclaimed horror shooter Resident Evil 4 have been confirmed via translations of reports from Japanese publication Famitsu. This will mark the second time the game has been republished with additional features on a new console, with the original GameCube title having been released on PlayStation 2 with additional playable side content. Biohazard 4 Wii Edition, as the upcoming game is dubbed in Japan, will feature the content added in the PS2 version as well as the existing cutscenes rendered by the game engine rather than as pre-rendered movies. Of course, the primary addition is a new control scheme using the Wii remote for aiming and the nunchuk for movement. Protagonist Leon Kennedy's knife is also more readily accessible in the Wii version of the game, with a Zelda-like shake of the remote executing a close combat attack. Presumably, the game will feature native widescreen support rather than the letterboxing of the GameCube version; true 16:9 support was added for the PS2 game.

    Biohazard 4 Wii Edition is set to ship in Japan on May 31, 2007; no North American release has been announced. Shacknews sent inquiries to Capcom but had not received a response at time of writing. The Famitsu issue also included confirmation of the continued existence of Biohazard: Umbrella Chronicles, the upcoming Wii-exclusive entry in the series. A trailer of Umbrella Chronicles will be included in Biohazard 4 Wii Edition.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2/PS3

Screenshots: Dragon's Lair HD (Blu-ray).

Xbox/X360

Screenshots: Luxor 2 (X360, also PC).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Action 52 for the NES. "This sold in a few stores for about $200 (USD) and featured 52 games on one cartridge. This might have been a good deal if more than 5 were actual working games. Also the craptacular, unresponsive controls made it suck as well." (submitted by volitionism)