Most wanted games for the end of 2011

The major game developers have started the release campaign for Holidays 2011, which means they will offer to the public their best products and franchises. In this way they are trying to hit the big pot in the most prolific financial quarter of 2011. Companies like EA, Activision, Bethesda, Warner Bros, are already fighting to position their AAA titles into top 20 most wanted games of this year. Based on this top and on our subjective (but sometimes true) virtual tastes, here are our choices for this year’s Holidays most wanted games:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:

Activision comes this Fall with their first person shooter blockbuster which will come with a much darker storyline suitable for Mature audience. Scheduled for November this year this title will blow all the selling charts like its sibling titles from this popular franchise. The multiplayer will be even faster involving vehicles control and an improved achievements system. The pre-orders from the official resellers are showing the same speculative price of $59.99, with 10 bucks more than the average price for an AAA title.


Battlefield 3:

From the same genre but emphasized more on the multiplayer aspect, Battlefield 3 will make its debut in October for all major platforms. The next installment in the internationally acclaimed Battlefield series, is the result of three years of development and a new game engine, featuring state of the art technology with superior performance in character animation, visual rendering, audio/sound and physical destruction. Battlefield 3 is the only FPS in the marketplace using Frostbite 2 engine, and the only shooter capable of making the gameplay experience feel alive with all the sights, sounds, movements and action of real-world incursions. Beta for multiplayer has already been started.

Battlefield 3 captures the intense reality of modern warfare across the globe. DICE has worked closely with highly decorated ex-SAS operator and acclaimed author, Andy McNab, to ensure the authenticity and grittiness of today’s war is captured in both the single player and multiplayer campaigns.

Rage:

Rage is the next id Software’s baby, a complex shooter that takes place in an post-apocalyptic world. It’s the first time when id Software changes the environment of their legendary shooters, from claustrophobic indoors to wide open spaces. Initially this game should have been published by EA, but in the end Bethesda (known for Fallout 3) are the ones that have won this privilege. I’ve mention this because you can see from the beginning some similarities with the Fallout universe. Therefore the question comes: Are we ready for another post-apocalyptic shooter? All I can say is that the game will be released in a week for all major platforms. Grab it and see what offers.


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:

With this title Bethesda tries again to path its way to the top of most wanted games, this time in the role of the developer behind The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The next installment in the Elder Scrolls franchise continues the RPG experience based on an epic storyline. Skyrim reimagines and revolutionizes the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose. Skyrim will feature an ensemble cast of Academy Award nominees, including Christopher Plummer (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Insider”), Max Von Sydow (“The Exorcist,” “Minority Report”), and Joan Allen (“The Contender,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”).The game will be available worldwide on November 11, 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Gears of War 3:

Epic Games and Microsoft launched Gears of War 3 at the end of September. The action packed exclusive XBOX 360 game brings back its dynamic gameplay and its legendary characters including Marcus, Baird, and Dominic. Besides the single-player campaign with a cinematic story, the multiplayer has been improved. Five-on-five multiplayer battles and four player co-op campaign enlarges the multiplayer experience. Beast Mode is the new multiplayer mode that offers the player the chance to take on the role of the locust horde and their assorted variations!


FIFA 12:

Today EA launched FIFA 12 for all the major consoles including Wii and PS2 and handheld gadgets like PSP or iPhone. With an all-new Career Mode, driven by the storylines from the real-world of the sport, with elements like player morale, on-pitch form and league position that will influence outcomes in the game, users will face more decisions and factors than ever before. With the latest installment, soccer has never been so brilliant simulated. Thanks to the new physics engine, the Player Impact Engine, fans will experience the way real-world footballers challenge each other for the ball, win possession, and test each other physically. The engine processes decisions continuously in real-time at every point of contact on a player’s body to create an infinite variety of natural and believable outcomes in every collision. Players now feel more resilient, push and pull during the fight for possession, and recover from light challenges more easily.

Batman Arkham City:

For anyone that loves comics and action games, Batman Arkham City is the best choice for this season. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new, all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight. The game will be available from October 21st  in the UK for Xbox 360, PC and the PlayStation 3.

Some important figures from the comics will make their debut as playable characters: Catwoman (with her own story in single-player) and Robin (in all challenge maps in the game) ; and new villains as opponents for Batman: Mr. Freeze, Penguin, The Riddler and Two Face.

NFS The Run:

What would be a most wanted top without the latest NFS game. Developed by Black Box NFS The Run is a game that takes players on a heart-pounding cross-country race from San Francisco to New York. Launching on November 15, Need for Speed The Run lures players into an underground world of illicit, high-stakes racing. Powered by DICE’s state-of-the-art Frostbite 2 engine (same as in Battlefield 3), Need for Speed The Run takes the action racing genre to new heights with stunning visuals and car physics that hug the road even at top speeds all built around a gripping storyline. Besides the storyline driven gameplay, EA proudly presents the official licensed line of Porsche models, including the 2012 Porsche 911.

Dark Souls (prepare to die over and over again):

Nobody ever thought that Demon Souls, that actually came out of nowhere in 2009, will be a hit on PS3. Two years later Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to this unique RPG, already received by the critics as an AAA title.  Developed by the same team FROMSOFTWARE, the game will be available in October for XBOX 360 and PS3. Set in a rich, dark fantasy universe, Dark Souls features tense dungeon crawling, fearsome enemy encounters and ground-breaking online features which combine for a truly unique RPG experience. As players encounter terrifying enemies and discover new areas, the game’s foundation of challenge and reward permeates the experience to provide an unparalleled sense of achievement. The developers have assured the whole community that the increased difficulty present in the first title will break the barriers of your patience in Dark Souls. This is what stands behind the so called sense of achievement.

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Sony VAIO L Series 3D All In One PC

Meet VAIO L Series 3D – an all in one PC which features a 24 inch Full HD 3D multi-touch display with superb clarity and contrast (whether you’re watching in 2D or 3D), Intel Core i7 processor, Blu-ray player, NVIDIA graphics with 1GB of RAM, S-Force Front Surround 3D, HDMI output, and touch controls built in the bezel.

Using the multi-touch LCD screen, you can scroll through files, flick between web pages, zoom and rotate images with fingertip gestures… and no mouse or menus needed. The screen is framed by a touch sensitive ‘Edge Access’ bezel that gives mouse-free access to key functions. The bezel also houses an embedded 3D transmitter: you just have to slip on your active shutter glasses and enjoy the show in 3D.

Take a look at the video tour from E3…

The New VAIO L Series 3D also offers more ways to enjoy your favourite entertainment. ‘Native’ supported 3D content includes movies on Blu-ray Disc, games and videos. You can also enjoy 3D panoramic still images captured with Cyber-shot digital cameras and α DSLR digital cameras by Sony. There’s also a dedicated button on the bezel that instantly converts 2D content like Blu-ray Disc movies to simulated 3D.

Highlights:

  • 61cm (24″) all-in-one 3D touchscreen multimedia PC
  • Slim, space-saving all-in-one PC with large multi-touch 3D screen
  • 61cm (24″) Full HD VAIO Display Plus with LED backlight brings entertainment to life in 3D
  • Convert 2D movies and videos to 3D at the touch of a button
  • First all-in-one PC with 3D HDMI input to enjoy 3D PlayStation 3 games
  • Create 3D artworks with easy-to-use Family Paint 3D software
  • Now the whole family can watch and create thrilling 3D content with the new VAIO L series 3D multimedia PC from Sony.

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Battleheart – a highly addictive, gorgeous looking game for Android and iPhone

A while back I wrote about Inotia 3 – my favorite RPG for Android and iOS at that moment – an addictive game with cute characters and great storyline. Meanwhile I finished the game and to be honest I thought that I won’t find a better RPG, until just a few days back I discovered Battleheart.

Battleheart is a challenging action RPG (much more harder then Inotia 3) with a great level of customization and freedom, smooth multi-touch controls and addictive fast-paced battly system. At this moment I’ve only put a couple of hours into it so far, but I can easily say that if I should choice between this and Inotia 3, I would definitely say Battleheart due to the simple fact that is more challenging and I love the multi-touch controls system.

The game has around 30 campaign levels and each battle you can choose 4 characters from your party. Your characters can equip a weapon, armore, and 2 accessories (rings, talismans, etc) some of which can be upgraded. In order to obtain rare equipment , you can try your luck in the competitive survival arena – a place where you fight until your last breath in order to make as much kills you can. After every fight, you earn gold and experience that can be spent in the merchant shop or upgrading items.

As any other typical RPG, your characters level up based on the experience you get fighting monsters and you unlock new talents and abilities. What I like is that you can change your talents at any time in-between battles (by visiting the tavern from the game menu), so you don’t have to worry about choosing the “wrong” one, or you can switch based on a battle you’re having trouble with.

Game Features

  • Easily command your army via simple touch commands.
  • Create a unique party from numerous character classes, including stealthy rogues, powerful wizards and stoic knights!
  • Customize your heroes via dozens of unique skills – literally hundreds of class and skill combinations!
  • Make the most of your party’s skills to control the battlefield – turn your opponents into frogs, stun them with poisons, or simply destroy them with meteor strikes and whirlwinds of steel!
  • Over 100 unique items to collect and equip across a 30+ level campaign, complete with epic boss battles!
  • Put your custom party to the ultimate test in survival arenas, where rare and unique rewards can be found!
  • Incredibly sharp animation and art designed specifically for cutting edge mobile devices!

Battleheart for Android | Battleheart for iOS (iPhone/iPad)

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Mozilla continues their fast release cycle with Firefox 7

Six weeks after the release of Firefox 6, Mozilla officially released the new next version for Firefox. The seventh cycle of development confirms the rapid release schedule adopted by Mozilla this year. While there are rumors regarding the idea of shortening this cycle to only five weeks, these won’t happen too soon.

Similar to its previous version, Firefox  7 brings few notable improvements and features. The most important improvement is the memory usage optimization. It is said that Firefox 7 has reduced its memory usage by 20% and even 50% in special cases. This comes as a positive effect for the startup and page loading times, which suffered a lot in previous version.

Mozilla has also tweaked the Javascript module in order to free up memory no longer in use. In this way, they have addressed one of the oldest issues present in previous Firefox versions. No you can let the browser run as much as you want without noticing any expense in system resources. For example is enough to close unused tabs in order to free up memory, and this without the need to restart the browser.

Other subtle improvements have been done to the Firefox Sync component which now initializes the sync process for password and bookmark changes more frequently as they are modified or added. Firefox 7 also adds support for CSS3 Text Overflow method and a new measurement tool that allows web developers to identify performance improvements or flaws on their website.

Azure is the new graphical component introduced in Firefox 7 in order to improve the rendering process of Canvas present in the new HTML 5 standard. In this way Mozilla is trying to prepare its path for future worldwide changes in the HTML standard. A subtle but good change has been  applied to the address bar. Now the main domain from a web address is even more highlighted compared to the subdomain component and the “http://” prefix is not visible anymore.

Until the next new version of Mozilla’s Firefox:

download Mozilla Firefox 7 for Windows | download Mozilla Firefox for Mac

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Download faster and more effective from the Internet

When we download files from the Internet, most of us don’t feel like using something more advanced over the browsers basic download management facility,  but if you’re downloading huge files frequently or multiple files simultaneously, you might want to consider an alternate to traditional downloading via a browser.

A good alternative that is not just fully-featured but also very lightweight with the system is Light Downloader. This tiny download manager can resume broken downloads from where they were interrupted and accelerate your downloads (up to 6 times) by splitting the files into several parts and downloading them simultaneously.

What I like is that the the application once installed adds a watermark on the desktop (which you can move wherever you want), providing drag-and-drop of URLs for easy quick downloading. Last but not least, Light Downloader offers browser integration for Firefox and Internet Explorer and in case you need to, you can also add URLs manually.

Light Downloader Key Features:

  • Download acceleration
  • Light Downloader can accelerate downloads by up to 6 times due to its intelligent dynamic file segmentation technology.
  • Download Resume
  • Light Downloader can resume unfinished download from the place where they left off.
  • Built-in Scheduler
  • Light Downloader can connect to the Internet at a set time, download the files you want, disconnect, or shut down your computer when it’s done.
  • Drag and Drop
  • You may simply drag and drop links to Light Downloader to start downloading.
  • Easy downloading with one click
  • When you click on a download link in a browser, Light Downloader will take over the download and accelerate it.
  • Supports FTP, HTTP and HTTPS
  • You can easily download files with a browser click from any remote server via FTP/ HTTP/ HTTPS.

Download Light Downloader

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Rainmeter 2.1 with audio player support

One of the areas where Windows 7 noticeably improves things as opposed to Windows XP (and Vista) is the visual customization. But what if, instead of the default widgets, you want to try something else. Let’s say a third party software that is focused on managing desktop gadgets, skins and even themes. Rainmeter is the perfect example for such a demand and its latest version 2.1 proves one more time its detailed and comprehensive approach towards dektop customization.

Rainmeter comes with a default theme called “Illusto” and optionally, three other different (recommended) theme suites, “Enigma”, “Gnometer” and “APB”. All list themes are gorgeous and highly customizable. However, for those who aren’t crazy about these themes, there is a wide variety of themes around the Internet thanks to the enthusiastic community of fans. Features also vary from theme to theme but they can be reconfigured in many ways, as each individual module can be dragged and dropped anywhere wherever you want on the screen.

Rainmeter comes with a variety of handy applets that can provide useful information such as weather, RSS feeds, calendar, e-mail, news, notes, clock, and much more. Moreover, you can view stats of your computer components such as CPU usage, download and upload speed, hard-drive condition, RAM usage and much more. With version 2.1 comes also the option to control your audio player directly from the Now Playing tool which can be activated and located on any Rainmeter layer. It support any player including the popular AIMP, Foobar2000, iTunes, MediaMonkey, MusicBee, Winamp, VLC Media Player, or Windows Media Player.

Rainmeter is a highly customizable desktop platform that allows you to add and drag around sidebar gadgets that can offer you all the information that you need: feeds, tweets, Facebook, calendar, mail, network, notes, system and much more.

download Rainmeter 2.1

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Browse secure with Comodo Dragon

Comodo Dragon is a free browser based on the Chromium technology that offers all the basic Google’s Chrome features plus an additional level of security and privacy. For instance if you visit a site that has a domain certificate, Comodo browser can make the difference between a superior and an inferior SSL certificate and notifies the user about this. From the privacy point of view, the Comodo browser will not connect to remote servers to report errors from your computer. Instead it returns error messages found on your computer so that it prevents the download tracking.

Besides its additional security and privacy modules, Comodo Dragon looks good using some fresh new browsing icons that improves not only the look of it but also increases simplicity. Without any extensions support or live bookmark sync, Comodo has a reduced memory footprint compared to the standard version of Chrome. But if you decide to choose simplicity and usability against complexity, the lack of these Chromium features is excusable.

If you are not sure if this browser is worth enough to try it out you should take in consideration two other important things. When installing the application you have the option to choose for a portable version of the program. You can also import your history, password, cookies and other settings from your current browser into Comodo. So there is nothing to make you not want it.

download Comodo Dragon 14.0

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Warco – the first person shooter without a gun

Believe it or not but there will be one: Warco, short for “war correspondent”. Warco is the first FPS where instead of a gun, you’re armed only with your wits and your video camera. Your job – as a war correspondent – is to record dramatic images of war in the dangerous conflicts, save them and then edit the results into a compelling frontline TV news story, in order to beam the results to global audiences on the web.

Developed as a partnership between Brisbane (Australia based Defiant Development), filmmaker Robert Connolly and journalist Tony Maniaty – the game is about navigating through a morally gray world and making decisions that have human impact. It’s about finding the story you want to tell, as each of the  environments are filled with different story elements you can film and combine in your own ways.

All footage is taken from the proof of concept playable developed in UDK – all in game, barring the final news story which would be edited together by the player from the war footage they’ve captured.

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