Week in Review: Ninja Gaiden dated, NVIDIA 9800GX2, Guitar Hero: On Tour, and more!

Week in Review: Ninja Gaiden dated, NVIDIA 9800GX2, Guitar Hero: On Tour, and more!


What a slow news week we had! Fortunately, there were a few key game releases to keep us busy.

Activision announced that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will soon get a four map pack that will include content for both the 360 and the PS3. The included maps are Broadcast, Creek, Chinatown, and Killhouse. I like the last one; it’s got a nice ring to it. In addition to the DLC content, Activision will release a Game of the Year Edition which will include said maps.

In other map content news, Bungie detailed what the second map for the soon-to-be-released Legendary Map pack for Halo 3 will look like. Avalanche, aka Cotton Ball, is a wholly remade and refined version of the Sidewinder map from Halo: Combat Evolved. Many of the overarching structures are still there, but the developer promises faster gameplay and brand new vehicle variants.

The much anticipated Ninja Gaiden II got a firm street date. Microsoft and TECMO announced that June 3, 2008 will be the day that the 360 faithful can treat their consoles to gratuitous violence and insanely difficult boss battles. Gamers can look forward to a new combat system, gameplay engine, and health regeneration meter in addition to the new levels, enemies, story, and weaponry.

NVIDIA has released the 9800GX2 graphics card for PCs everywhere and it sounds like it’s going to tear Crysis a new one! The company claims that it is “the fastest graphics card on the planet” and boasts dual GPUs along with two DVI and HDMI ports to make your PC the center of your HD world. As if to prove that it’s no joke, Alienware has revamped their Area-51 gaming PC with a new motherboard in order to accommodate the colossal power of the graphics processor. Only time will tell if it actually lives up to the hype, but it should be at least pretty cool.

The folks at Electronic Arts revealed the first details and screens surrounding The Sims 3 and it looks like it’s shaping up to be amazing. Many of the series’ faults have been addressed in the offering and it should provide gamers with the platform that Will Wright had always envisioned. Hopefully your hardware will be able to stand up to the not-so-casual title.

Rock Band has gotten a bit too big for its britches so it will be receiving an update for both the 360 and PS3. The new fix will create the game’s own store inventively called, the Rock Band Music Store. The new consumer portal will allow you to sort titles in a multitude of ways and even goes so far as to let you listen to song clips before you buy them. In addition to the store, a number of fixes to load times, song repetition, and sound detection for the vocals are included in the patch.

By the end of March the PS3 will receive system software update v.2.20. The new firmware download will add Blu-ray Disc (BD) Profile 2.0, also known as BD-LIVE. The new functionality will allow for the PS3 to take full advantage of the interactive features, such as downloadable video content, ringtones, games, and more. In addition to BD-LIVE, the system software update will enable photo and music playlists on a PS3 to be copied to a PSP.

All of you Square Enix fans out there will be happy to know that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2: Grimoire of the Rift is set to release for the Nintendo DS in North America on June 24, 2008. The game continues the story of the Ivalice Alliance. Veterans of the series will be treated to new content and several enhancements like polished game mechanics, stylus control, and new jobs, classes and clan system.

The news for the DS didn’t stop there! Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS was announced by developer Vicarious Visions and publisher Activision. The developers along with Red Octane have developed the Guitar Grip peripheral that slides into the GBA slot of the DS and allows gamers to jam on four fret buttons. The design looks simple and interesting, but also a little cramped and definitely nerdy. The title will sport over 20 songs and promises a lot of solid multiplayer options.

Finally, EA and Starz Media have announced the creation of an animated film of Dead Space that will serve to bridge the gap between the comics and the upcoming game. The film is set to release simultaneously with the game this Halloween, and will be available via DVD, TV broadcast, and over the internet.

See you all next week if I can tear myself away from Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword and FF VII: Crisis Core. I suppose I’ll have to.

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