Archive for July 23rd, 2012

Review: “NCAA Football 13”

EA Sports’ college football video game, aptly titled NCAA 13 hit the stands this week in its annual mid-July release, giving college football fans a good month and a half to prepare before the season officially kicks off in September.

Right off the bat, the one thing you notice about this game is that the gameplay hasn’t changed too much from last year. The graphics are essentially the same, and there haven’t been too many changes to the actual in-game features that stand out.

However, where this franchise makes its money is in the game modes, and this year is no exception.

The newest feature to this game is the “Heisman Challenge,” where you can take select former Heisman Trophy winners, place them on whatever team you want and play a season. The goal is to surpass the statistics they put up in their Heisman winning season.

There are 16 former winners available. Guys like Robert Griffin III or Eddie George are available to use right away, but if you want to play as Tim Tebow, you need to have Xbox Live (or the PS3 equivalent) to download him.

Regardless of the relatively small number of winners you can use (there are 76 all-time winners) this is a cool feature that EA has added, similar to the “Be a Legend” mode in its NHL franchise.

The only reason I buy this game anymore is because of the dynasty mode. EA Sports has made constant improvements to its dynasty, and they don’t disappoint this year.

Case point No. 1: you can now scout prospects while recruiting them, revealing their approximate overall rating before they commit to a school. This eliminates a lot of frustration with landing a bunch of “blue chip” prospects, only to have them all rated lower than expected.

However, that does add the time it takes to actually do recruiting, so if you are someone who likes to fly through that, this particular feature might not be for you.

Additionally, not every prospect has a set top-10 schools list anymore. Most will have between one and five preferred schools, with the remaining slots being blank, allowing you to jump in on any prospect if you recruit them well enough. This can be beneficial if you like to play as a “less prestigious” team, such as BG.

In short, the recruiting feels more “realistic” in this year’s version.

Over the years, it seems that EA has gotten lazier with making improvements to its college football series, because it has no competition and people still buy it because of the significant roster changes in each college football season. However, they did a good enough job of adding new and improved content this year to make it work the buy.

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Stiq Figures, July 9 – 15: Carmen Sandiego edition

Welcome to Stiq Figures, where the sales data is after the break and the posts don’t matter. Every week, we take a look at, uh, something ? meanwhile, the previous week’s Japanese hardware sales figures are posted after the jump, and a discussion of said figures takes place in our comments. It may not be conventional, but it’s a time-honored Joystiq tradition.

Keeping in line with yesterday’s Webcomic Wrapup theme of kleptomania, we’re looking back at one of gaming’s greatest thieves: Carmen Sandiego. The mysterious and crafty lady in red first appeared on Apple II computers in 1985 as the main villain of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? by Broderbund Software.

Broderbund kept its hit educational series going through 2001, though it saw a series of tumultuous corporate changes in the mid-90’s, when the company pulled out of a merger agreement with Electronic Arts in 1994. In June 1998, Broderbund was acquired by The Learning Company (ironically, the same company Broderbund attempted to purchase three years earlier). The Learning Company proceeded to lay off 500 Broderbund employees before being purchased by Mattel. The Learning Company’s entertainment holdings, which included the Carmen Sandiego and Myst series of games, would go through a few hands before landing with Ubisoft.

Carmen Sandiego solidified her place as one of gaming’s greatest thieves early on. In the 1989 title Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, Sandiego’s henchmen are responsible for the theft of Napoleon’s hat and Paul Revere’s horse. The games even spurred on a series of educational TV game shows (seen in the video above). In fact, a movie adaptation of the educational series was announced in late June 2012.

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Darksiders 2 presents Death’s soundtrack, pre-order now

The Darksiders 2 soundtrack, a two-disc extravaganza featuring beats by Assassin’s Creed composer Jesper Kyd, will be available the same day as the game, on August 14. The soundtrack is available now for pre-order and will hit retail and digital download sites via Sumthing Digital, Amazon MP3, iTunes and others.

The entire track listing can be found beyond the break, which is a lot like the beyond, but with fewer horsemen of the Apocalypse and, you know, death in general.
Show full PR text
SUMTHING ELSE MUSIC WORKS ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF DARKSIDERS® II ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

ORIGINAL SCORE BY BAFTA AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER JESPER KYD
TWO-DISC SET NOW AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER, IN STORES AUGUST 14
New York – July 20th, 2012 – Sumthing Else Music Works proudly presents DARKSIDERS® II Original Soundtrack featuring Jesper Kyd’s highly anticipated original music score from the upcoming action/adventure video game title DARKSIDERS II developed by THQ’s in-house studio Vigil Games?. DARKSIDERS II Original Soundtrack is scheduled for release on August 14th to retail outlets worldwide through Sumthing Else Music Works http://www.sumthing.com and for digital download at http://www.sumthingdigital.com, Amazon MP3, iTunes® and other digital music sites. The 2-CD soundtrack album is available now to pre-order on Amazon.

BAFTA award-winning composer Jesper Kyd, renowned for his iconic musical scores in the Assassin’s Creed and Hitman series, has crafted a thrilling original score for DARKSIDERS II, the sequel to the critically acclaimed action/adventure title developed by THQ’s in-house studio Vigil Games. Kyd’s emotionally dynamic score for DARKSIDERS II combines dark ethereal themes and melodic fantasy that enrich the player’s cinematic
journey through each of the game’s unique realms.
Track Listing:

CD 1
01 The Makers Theme
02 Into Eternity
03 Makers in the Outlands
04 Story of the Makers
05 The Corruption
06 The Makers Overworld
07 The Makers Fight Back
08 The Floating City
09 Crystal Spire
10 Trouble in Eden
11 Stains of Heresy
12 The Abyssal Plains
13 The Rod of Arafel
14 The Crowfather

CD 2
01 The Dead Plains
02 The Plains Await
03 Supernatural Desert
04 The Eternal Throne
05 City of the Dead
06 The Crypt
07 Death Brings Hope
08 Plains of Death
09 Demon Realm
10 Into the Shadows
11 Lord of the Black Stone
12 Dead Plains Reprise.

DARKSIDERS II follows the exploits of DEATH, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, in a weaving tale that runs parallel to the events in the original Darksiders game. This epic journey propels DEATH through various light and dark realms as he tries to redeem his brother WAR, the horseman who was blamed for prematurely starting the Apocalypse in Darksiders. DARKSIDERS II is scheduled to be available for console and PC on August 14th, 2012 in the United States. For more information on DARKSIDERS II visit http://www.darksiders.com.

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video game soundtracks, visit http://www.sumthing.com and http://www.sumthingdigital.com, follow Sumthing Else Music Works on Twitter http://Twitter.com/SumthingDigital and become a fan on http://Facebook/SumthingElseMusicWorks and Google+.

About Sumthing Else Music Works
Since its creation in the late 1990s by the world-renowned songwriter, musician and record producer, Nile Rodgers, Sumthing Else Music Works has become the acknowledged industry leader in licensing and distributing video game soundtracks.

Possessing full in-house services worldwide, from retail marketing and sales through physical and digital distribution, Sumthing is partnered with the world’s leading video game developers and publishers including BioWare, Bungie, Capcom, Crytek, Eidos-Montreal, Epic, Gearbox, Microsoft, Sega, Sony, Square-Enix and THQ. Their catalog of titles includes the best-selling video game soundtrack of all time, Halo 2: Volume One, as well as award-winning and critically acclaimed titles including: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Gears of War 3, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Halo: Reach, Fable III, God of War III, Uncharted 2, Halo 3: ODST, Dark Void, Borderlands, InFamous, Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Halo Wars, Halo Trilogy, Gears of War 2, Fable II, Crysis, Advent Rising, Fable, Gears of War, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2 Volume Two, Halo 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Contracts, Jade Empire, Kameo: Elements of Power, Mass Effect, Red Steel, Freedom Fighters and many others.

Sumthing Else Music Works and Sumthing Distribution logos are copyright of their respective companies.

Darksiders II © 2012 THQ Inc. Developed by Vigil Games. Darksiders, Vigil Games, THQ and their respective logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of THQ Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. All rights reserved.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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NANASA flinging Portal 2’s Wheatley into space, sort of

Wheatley, the adorably dumb and delightfully devious Space Core in Portal 2, is making a real-life trip to space. Kind of.

An anonymous tech at NASA got away with laser-engraving the above image of Wheatley with the quote “In spaaaaaaace!” on the Japanese HTV-3 resupply craft to the ISS. Wheatley and the craft are set to launch on Friday, July 27, at 10:06 EST. You can watch the launch beginning at 9:15 EST on Friday at the NASA TV website.

“NASA in no way officially endorses secretly laser-engraving characters from Portal onto their spacecraft,” the Portal 2 blog writes. “Believe it or not, they don’t even officially endorse Portal 2, despite the fact that it’s a really excellent game.” But someone (or some robot) at NASA obviously respects quality entertainment.

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Facebook acquires mobile app maker Acrylic

SAN FRANCISCO: The engineer behind Canadian startup Acrylic said Friday that he was closing up his one-man shop and joining the design team at leading social network Facebook.

Facebook confirmed that it has bought Acrylic in an “acqui-hire” that brings on board founder Dustin MacDonald, the creator of mobile gadget applications for newsfeeds and digital wallets.

“Facebook is an invaluable service that we all use daily, and a company I believe is one of the most innovative and important around today,” MacDonald said in a blog post announcing his move to California.

“After visiting late last year, I discovered that we shared many of the same core product design goals and principles, and it soon became obvious that it was a natural fit.”

Acrylic’s best-known applications — Wallet and Newsfeed — were not acquired by Facebook in the deal. Buying promising startups for the talent and not its products has become common in the competitive Internet technology world.

Facebook recently bought startups Spool and TagTile in “talent acquisitions” aimed at helping it stay in synch with users as they shift increasingly to using smartphones and tablet computers.

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