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The UK seems to love a bit of Sega gaming

Source: seganerds.com

It seems that Sega has had quite a successful week in the UK All Formats Charts with not one, not four, but three games in the top 10.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is still doing incredibly well, staying up at number 2 – beaten out by Gran Turismo 5: Prologue (much to my personal disgust – I hate the GT games).

Also despite some mixed reviews and opinions among fans/reviewers, Viking: Battle for Asgard is sitting a very respectable 7.

And just released, in Europe, is Condemned 2 – which jumps into the charts at a very cool fifth place.

But it doesn’t all end there Sega Nerds. While making the top 10 is the accolade companies like to aspire to, Sega has another 4 titles making it into the top 40.

Just outside the top 10 is Sega Superstars Tennis, hitting no. 12. Then creeping (slowly) up the charts is House of the Dead 2&3: Return at no. 17 – which was at 21 last week. At 21 we have Football Manager 2008 (Still hanging in there), then last and sort of least (in this case) we have the surprising, for me at least, appearance of Sonic and the Secret Rings!

Top 10 List:

(1) – 1 – Gran Turismo 5: Prologue SCE
(3) – 2 – Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games SEGA
(2) – 3 – Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 Ubisoft
(4) – 4 – Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 Konami
(-) – 5 – Condemned 2 SEGA
(5) – 6 – Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock Activision
(8) – 7 – Viking: Battle For Asgard SEGA
(11) – 8 – Wii Play Nintendo
(10) – 9 – Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training Nintendo
(7) – 10 – Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Activision SCE

Let’s hope Sega can keep this trend of having several titles in the top 40 (preferably most in the top 10 though) and confirm themselves as being one of the great gaming companies once again.

(Damn, that last paragraph was almost bordering on fanboyism – Apologies)

[Source: Spong and Chart Track]

SEGA to co-publish Operation Darkness

Source: seganerds.com

News has reached SegaNerds that SEGA is teaming up with Atlus to bring Operation Darkness to a western audience this summer.

The title, a strategy/RPG with a twist, is developed by Japanese developer Success, and was released in Japan late last year.

In Operation Darkness the player is thrown into the midst of an alternate World War II in which the supernatural forces of the occult are playing a massive role. Werewolves, vampires, and authentic World War weaponry will mesh together into an intriguing package.

The strategy title uses an innovative cover system in conjunction with some of the more traditional squad-based strategy elements gamers have come to expect from the genre.

Operation Darkness is scheduled to release in the U.S. on June 24th.

A demo of the game will be hitting XBOX Live on May 5th. Stay tuned for our in-depth demo analysis.

Published on April 7th, 2008 under , , ,

New Sonic Unleashed teaser

Source: seganerds.com


Well, that was… different.

Sega just released this short CGI teaser trailer for Sonic Unleashed and well… I’m still not exactly sure what to say about it. So what does it tell us? Well it confirms that Sonic will turn into an angry werewolf at night, It also hints at dodgy voice acting. Oh and it confirms Sonic has fingernails which I’m sure will be a hot topic on any Sonic forum I’ll never go to.

On the bright side, if the werewolf thing turns out to be crap at least the other half of the game looks awesome, the glass is half full.

Sega Australia offset the evil with a new Condemned 2 website

Source: seganerds.com

Sega Australia has created possibly one of the most disturbing websites ever.

The website has been made to help promote Condemned 2: Bloodshot. However unlike other Condemned sites, which contain dark settings, with scary monsters and brutal scenes of violence, Sega Australia has decided to go the other way and make a site using bright flowery meadows and pretty little pony’s all the colours of the rainbow. AHHH!

But seriously, this is all quite freaky really. You are treated to a pretty field with butterflies and lollipops, and “Percy the Pretty Pony.”

However the site has a darker, underlying purpose…

If you click on Percy, you are then treated to a wonderfully disturbing video (shown above), and then you play a game, whereby players need to move a large heart under the path of the ponies, as they try to jump across “the stream of smiles”, to get to a field of “heart flowers”. As you rescue the ponies they cry out “I love you!” and if you let them fall into the river, they shout out “It’s ok, I still love you!”

The game is basic, but there is a reason to the cute madness. As players help more and more ponies, and get higher scores, they unlock new items on the main page – like exclusive footage of Condemned 2 or a survey, asking how many hobos you have killed and whether you like to laugh at the finishing moves within the game.

Just by exploring the site you can find all sorts of random things, like a news article on some new Polar Bear Cubs or tickets to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert…

Check out the insanely brilliant website here.

[Source: Sega Blogs]

[Special Thanks: ShadiWulf]

Let’s go behind the scenes at Secret Level

Source: seganerds.com

In this fascinating behind-the-scenes video, Reeve Thompson, the vice president at Secret Level, and the rest of his team reveal some pretty interesting tidbits behind its newest title – Iron Man.

Thompson talks about Sega’s initial intentions when it purchased the once-independent company and several gameplay and design choices, most notably the fine tuning it has to do to get the flight, melee and ranged fighting down perfectly.

The more we see and hear about this game, the more I’m beginning to believe it might be one of the best licensed games to date.

Published on April 4th, 2008 under , , , , ,

Sega Superstars Tennis demo now on XBLM

Source: seganerds.com

Many Xbox 360 owners have been waiting for the Sega Superstars Tennis demo before they decided to make the dive and purchase Sega’s all-star tennis mash up. Well, good news – it’s now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for your downloading pleasure.

The demo will start you off with fan favorite Shadow the Hedgehog and Aiai the monkey, along with Green Hill Zone court. Once you play, you’ll be able to unlock more things just like the real game. The demo offers single player and local-multiplayer matches. The unlockables are Curien Manson mini game playable with Sonic and Samba.

Sure it’s about a week late, but at least it’s out, right?

Published on April 4th, 2008 under , ,

Alpha Protocol screens look sharp

Source: seganerds.com

Here are some nice looking screens for Sega and Obsidian’s upcoming video game, Alpha Protocol. This are the same screens that appeared in Game Informer’s April issue.

People on the forum have complained that the game looks generic. That’s a lame excuse to dismiss a game. I think the screens look nice and feature a nice amount of textures. To be honest, it has me interested, not because of the art design but because of what it promises.

[Thanks Yu Suzuki]

Hit the jump for the screens.

Published on April 4th, 2008 under , , , ,

See The Incredible Hulk in action

Source: seganerds.com

GameTrailers has the first video of developer Edge of Reality’s and publisher Sega’s upcoming The Incredible Hulk, based on the movie of the same name.

While the game is not a direct follow-up to the well-received Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, it looks to follow in the same vein of sandbox-style gameplay that is so popular in other superhero titles lately… Including another of Sega’s upcoming titles.

The game’s official site has also opened, so head on over for more info and all that fancy stuff. According to the site, Hulk will be destroying city landscape on practically every platform under the sun. Expect to see this one in stores around the same time the movie’s in theaters. (June 13 for those keeping track.)

Published on March 29th, 2008 under , , , , , , ,

Condemned 2 players suffering on both platforms

Source: seganerds.com

Condemned 2 sound issues

Unfortunately I am not talking about “suffering” the frightening gameplay here.  It seems that Sega’s highly anticipated horror title, Condemned 2 has been experiencing a few technical issues, for both the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Firstly reports had been coming in, from various forums and gaming sites, that the Xbox 360 version was erasing save files for the game randomly.  (Though Chris who reviewed the 360 version, has not experienced this).   But now it seems the PlayStation 3 version has its own problems.

Reports coming from the Sega of America boards, speak of some sound issues, for the PS3 game.  It seems that sound is cutting out or “snapping” – predominantly on the first few levels.

This would be annoying for any game, but it is especially annoying for a game like Condemned, which uses the ambient sounds to help convey the suspense needed to make it a truly frightening experience.

A few months back, I previewed a late build (but not final version) of the PS3 version, and the sound seemed perfectly fine to me.  So I’m not sure what has gone wrong between then and the final code being released.

Sega is currently investigating the cause of the problem, but suggests that using a standard AV cable, instead of HDMI, should help for the time being.  Let’s hope that it is just a few dodgy copies that have slipped out of the factories and not thousands.

I also hope they can resolve it, and release a patch (or something), in time for the European release next month!

[Source: SoA Via Game|Life]

Published on March 28th, 2008 under , , , , , ,

Review: Condemned 2: Bloodshot

Source: seganerds.com

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Similar to Graham’s schoolgirl-like excitement over Viking: Battle for Asgard, Condemned 2: Bloodshot has been at the top of my most-wanted list since I wet my pants while playing Criminal Origins.

It was so damn scary, so frightening that I had trouble playing it in a darkened room. Oftentimes, I’d have to put down the controller and turn it off for a little while when things got too intense, but that’s what attracted me to the game and kept me coming back for more.

No game since then has recreated that sense of panic, fear and excitement until now. I don’t know how they did it, but the guys at Monolith Productions have once again created a game that delivers intense action, a fun combat system and more violence than anything you’ll ever see in any Hollywood flick.

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How’s the story
I can understand that there are a few unfortunate souls who have never had the opportunity to play the first game. I feel sorry for you, but I’ll give you a brief rundown of what’s happened so far.

You control Ethan Thomas, a Serial Crime Unit investigator, who’s hot on the heels of a serial killer named Serial Killer X, or SKX. In your hunt for the killer, you begin to unravel a much larger problem – something is making the city’s inhabitants murderously violent. At the same time, Ethan begins to awaken supernatural powers within himself and is haunted by mysterious creatures called the “Dark Watchers” or “The Oros.” As the game came to a close, Ethan finally disposed of SKX, but it was apparent, The Oros weren’t through with him yet.

Condemned 2 picks up a little bit later with Ethan an out-of-work, homeless alcoholic battling his inner demons when the SCU comes calling for help due to more mysterious deaths and the inhabitants of the city still continuing their psychotic murder sprees.

Ethan reluctantly decides to help the SCU once more when he learns that SKX could still be alive and killing again. But once more, it seems The Oros play an important role in this madness.

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I hear there’s a new combat system
Monolith has touted the game’s improved combat system, and I can say it’s definitely better than its predecessor. There are a variety of improvements, namely mapping each trigger to the corresponding hand to make combat feel more fluid. While that may not seem like a big deal, it certainly helps the player feel more involved.

Guns have never played an integral role in the series, and they still don’t. However, one unique twist plays up Ethan’s rampant thirst for booze. Throughout the game, you’ll find bottles of alcohol Ethan can consume to increase his wits and better his aim. Once the alcohol meter drops to empty, though, things tend to get a bit blurry and shooting isn’t as easy.

You’ll also use some insane meat choppers like a broad sword, a prosthetic arm or a saw built to look like a giant lollipop. Additionally, weapons can be thrown, but they’re also susceptible to breaking, too, so players have to use them wisely or be forced to take on an opponent empty-handed.

As you’re kicking your opponent’s ass, you’ll have the chance to perform “chain combos” that slow the action down into a Quick-Time Event. These usually kill an opponent immediately and are pretty damn cool. Once you progress far enough in the game, Ethan will unlock an ability to produce shockwaves from his voice that he can use to kill enemies or blast off Oro headpieces.

Lastly, Monolith really ramped up the violence in finishing off your enemy. Criminal Origins didn’t offer a lot of variety in dealing death blows, but in Bloodshot, you can pick up your opponent, drag him to a nearby toilet and crack his skull into dozens of bloody pieces, just one of the very satisfying fatalities Ethan can pull off.

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Does it look any better than the first?
It doesn’t take long to notice the upgrade in the visual department. While they’re not a huge jump, character models are definitely more detailed, and the environments themselves look great, too.

Ethan takes on a different look, as well. It may be due to the alcohol abuse or that Monolith just wanted to give him a more crazed look. Either way, Ethan looks like a complete psycho, but he seems right at home battling the evils that come his way throughout the game.

However, the series has never been about just visuals. Lighting and shadows play a more integral role in setting the mood than just raw graphics. In this area, Condemned 2 shines. Oftentimes, you’ll enter a room with very little light other than your trusty flashlight that, for some reason, never runs out of batteries. When you hear things scuttling about around you or see a Coke can suspiciously roll across the floor but can’t see anything, it really starts to freak you out.

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Will this here magnifying glass work?
Like the game’s combat system, the forensic system has received some work. In your field kit, you have four main pieces of equipment – a digital camera; GPS; UV light, which helps illuminate blood; and a spectrometer that can track gases and audible sources.

For the most part, each of these items are pretty easy to use, but the camera’s the only one that you can actually use and screw up an investigation. If you take a photo and don’t bother correctly focusing on the correct portion of a scene, you’ll lose points.

Players can now choose if they want to investigate a scene, and they’ll get rewarded by successfully doing so. After investigating the crime scene, the game will ask you a series of multiple-choice questions that you can answer based from the evidence you gathered. If you answer correctly, you’ll receive equipment or health upgrades.

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It’s online, right?
To give the game a longer lifespan, Monolith graciously added multiplayer in Condemned 2. It supports eight-players online and has four modes – Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Bum Rush and Crime Scenes, and for the most part, they’re pretty fun.

You know what you’re getting with the first two modes, but Bum Rush and Crime Scenes are kinda unique.

In Crime Scenes, the “Influenced,” or bums, hide two cases throughout the level, while the SCU agents use their tracking devices to find them, all while everyone’s shooting, hitting and bashing each other into bloody pulps – what fun!

Bum Rush once again pits the Influenced against the SCU agents, but there’s a twist – the SCU agents can’t respawn, but they have a lot more health and can kill the Influenced in a hit or two. Sounds pretty unfair, but the catch is the SCU team is grossly outnumbered, so they’re always trying to fend off several oncoming attackers at once – it can get pretty crazy.

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That’s not all, folks
If that wasn’t enough, Monolith added another swell feature called Bloodshot Fight Club. In this mode, you play through several mini-games and can upload your score to an online leaderboard. At first, there are only four games to play – Riot Control, Smoke ‘Em, Deadly Day Care and Streets of Rage (I guess there are a few Sega Nerds at Monolith, eh?), but there are other unlockable games.

By far my favorite of these is Riot Control. In it, you have to help a group of cops kill attacking “speedballers” as quickly as possible. The catch here is that you’re on the second-floor looking down at everyone else, so all you have to worry about is killing the bad guys with bricks or Molotov cocktails. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had sadistic thoughts of throwing heavy objects upon unsuspecting passersby while I strolled through the mall. This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to accomplish that dream and not go to jail.

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Surely it can’t all be good
Honestly, it’s hard to find fault in Bloodshot. At times, the combat system can feel repetitive as you’ll find yourself alternating between blocking, then throwing a punch until your opponent has died, which can make the combat feel a bit tedious.

Additionally, the storyline tends to jump around, and that may confuse newcomers. But the game is so damn crazy, it really fits right in with the overall experience.

Summary
Condemned 2 is honestly everything I hoped it would be. Monolith took everything that made the first game so damn awesome and made it even better. And while I don’t think this title will be remembered for its online mode, I think that’s because the campaign is just so great.

What makes Condemned 2 so appealing is that it awakens that deep, dark part of your subconscious that enjoys inflicting pain on others. When you have a stressful day work, instead of going out and shooting up the neighborhood, perhaps you can ease your stress from the comfort of your living room while beating a homeless man to death with a wooden plank – now how great does that sound?

Score – 9/10

Published on March 25th, 2008 under , , ,

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