Can You See The Big Picture?

If you’re familiar with Steam then you’ll know it’s a gaming platform that allows users to share and play games from small developers to giants as well as a community area and the option to play multi-player with users around the globe. It’s all about giving you access to the games you love and the people you want to play against. Well now it’s even easier to access with the introduction of Steam’s Big Picture.

Big Picture has been available in beta for some time, but Valve has only just released the full version, and thus far it’s looking good!

If you’re a fan of Steam then this can only be good news, a new way to play your favourite games, from the comfort of your living room. What’s more it’s a method of PC/TV gaming that feels intuitive and natural, unlike trying to view most PC platforms on a big screen. It includes all the functionality you have on your PC or MAC, just designed to look, feel and work in a more TV screen friendly way.

All you have to do is link your computer up to your TV or other large screen and select the ‘Big Picture’ button in the top right corner. Doing so will not only expand your window, but also offer a whole range of new functionality for better playing, browsing and more comfortable viewing on a large screen. Great news if you like to chill on the sofa while gaming!

Even better the new Daisywheel text input is optimised for use with a game pad – making it easier than ever before to type without a keyboard. Valve is describing Big Picture’s browser as the world’s first, first person browser. It is inspired by first person shooter games and rather than moving the cursor, the screen pans and the cursor remains stationary. The ideal browser a) for use with a game pad and b) for people who are used to using Steam on a regular basis who are likely to be prolific gamers.

So now it’s possible for you to get the same feel when using Steam on even the biggest of screens, without having to use the clunky mouse and keyboard set up on your knee.

That being said if you love the Big Picture usability but prefer to use your PC or laptop then you can, and equally it’ll work with your keyboard and mouse just as well as it will with a game pad. Big Picture is all about giving gamers options, Steam users will now find it so easy to access their favourite games in an easy to use manner. Whether they’re behind their computer or using the TV. It essentially makes your TV feel like a console, whilst still offering your favourite games that you may have originally played on your PC. An amazing feat, and something that hasn’t really been done before.
It’s exciting stuff, and we’re looking forward to find out what Valve will do with Steam next. Can you see the Big Picture?

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Far Cry 3 has been released

Following the European release from November 30, Ubisoft is ready to deliver on the North American market the third installment in the Far Cry franchise. Far Cry 3 is the sequel to the 2008 Far Cry 2 and is a comeback to the tropical island environment. Based on the same open world concept found in the other titles of the franchise, Far Cry 3 brings powerful characters and a thriller story, important elements that have been mistreated in the former two titles of the series.

Far Cry 3 is not a common open world first-person shooter. The player will face some role-playing elements including experience points, skill trees, and a crafting system. Beside these complex elements of gameplay, the player will have the ability to take cover behind objects and also shoot from the cover position. In case you want to choose the stealth way, your character can now perform takedowns from above, below or behind. You can also track down the enemies by tagging them with your camera.

Far Cry 3 has been received by the critics with positive reviews, praising the detailed environment which is now ten times bigger than the one present in Far Cry 2, and powerful characters that bring an in-depth story to the gameplay.

An interesting fact is that Michael Lambert, well-known for his Minecraft mods, along with artist Axel Janssen and Yohann Delcourt has been named by Ubisoft to create a custom map featuring textures that should recreate the  Far Cry 3 setting and characters in the popular indie game Minecraft. The mod can be downloaded from the official Far Cry 3 website.

The best lines to describe this game cited from the publisher description: “Play drinking games and poker, compete in car races and shooting challenges. Take on these challenges to earn money and immerse yourself in the island’s lifestyle… when you’re not fighting for your life.”

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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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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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The Best First-Person Shooters for Android

FPS games are becoming more common on Google’s Android OS. In this article I’ve gathered some of the best to get you started. Let’s take a look.

NOVA 2 builds on what made the first part so cool and expands further with a larger range of weapons & powers, smarter AI, diversified gameplay, multiplayer leaderboard and much more. The graphics looks good with beautiful detailed environment and cool sound effect, plus hard rock soundtrack. About the AI, enemies are smart enough to duck for cover and use basic infantry team techniques which might be quite a challenger for you. However, if you really want to test your skills, you can step into the Multiplayer. Just login into the Gameloft servers, and you’ll be able either create a game, join or choose quick play. You can select from 5 modes: Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Freeze Tag and InstaGib (1 shot to kill an opponent from any range) – More info here.


Modern Combat 2
is a sequel to Modern Combat – Sandstorm. The single-player campaign is made up of 12 missions and in addition to the single-player campaign, the game also includes an online multiplayer mode for up to 10 players. The game features new environments, updated graphics and more robust multiplayer over Modern Combat. Similar to NOVA 2, the enemies are now reacting to your behavior, ducking behind cover or coming at you full-on as they see fit. The multiplayer also shines and I love that you level up as you play while you unlocks new weapons and skills that you can pick and choose from each match – More info here.

Brothers in Arms 2 is another thrilling game which places you in World War 2 in FPS fashion. You can play the solo Story mode or battle with up to 5 friends in multiplayer near you or strangers online with 5 maps to choose from. Each environment and character is beautifully rendered, making the action more lifelike as you dive and duck from cover to cover and assault the enemy. Pick up realistic weapons: machine guns, bazookas, sniper rifles, flamethrowers and pilot 3 vehicles including the tank, off-road vehicle or glider, or gun down enemies from the vehicle or tank turret – More info here.

Please leave a comment if you know any other Android FPS that is worth mentioning.

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