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Heroes V
Gamespot.com is hosting the newly released Heroes of Might and Magic V demo, which clocks in at 685 mb. According to Ubisoft, the Starforce copy protection should not be present, so there should be no risk to the user’s system from that installation.

The latest entry in the HOMM series has not been without controversy. This is the first game of the series that was not developed by New World Computing; after 3DO filed for bankruptcy, Ubisoft bought the rights and handed development to Nival Interactive, a Russian developer known for the Rage of Mages and Etherlords games. The latest entry will also be fully 3-D, a departure for the series. There was also a large outcry from the beta customers of the game. Ubisoft had initially planned an early April release, but the beta users insisted that the game experience was so horribly bad that the game release date needed to be pushed back. Eventually, Ubisoft caved, and the release was re-scheduled. Hopefully, the extra time has been worth it, and will show in the demo.

System Requirements and download link follow:

Click to continue reading Heroes of Might and Magic V Demo Available


Eurogamer reports on a unique panel at the recent Carrefour de l’animation (Animation Crossroad) in Paris, France. The animation conference featured two influential figures in gaming. Yoshitaka Amano, who contributed character designs for the Final Fantasy series and who also illustrated the Vampire Hunter D  series and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Dream Hunters was present, as well as Michel Ancel, most known for the Rayman series of games that have appeared on virtually every console from the Sega Saturn on, and the game Beyond Good and Evil, which achieved critical acclaim but not equivalent sales.

Click to continue reading Character Design in Rayman and Final Fantasy

Along with information about the upcoming paid content in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, comes the news that Bethesda is also working on a patch for both the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game. In the official forums for Oblivion, the patch is noted as fixing unspecified “issues” that have been reported since the game shipped. In addition, there will be a localization patch for issues with the foreign versions of the game after the US patch has been validated. PC users will get a beta version of the patch initially, and assuming that this works out, the patch will be rolled out to all users.

This does seem to be another drift down in the realm of console game patching. Back on the original Xbox, there were minor update patches to Halo 2 for wide-screen play and Xbox Live tuning. Dead or Alive 4 had a patch to fix an issue where save games could be accidentally deleted, but this may be the first large scale patch of a shipped console game, and it will be interesting to see how this is handled. Microsoft themselves are aware that not all of their user base is going to be broadband enabled (or will have a network connection available for the Xbox 360) and have made their backward compatibility updates available by downloadable ISO or by ordering a CD. Bethesda may have to do the same thing to appease users that have non-network capable Xbox 360s. Depending on the size of the patch, those users without the external hard drive may also be left in the cold. No real information has been released as to the nature of the patch, so it will be interesting to see how Bethesda handles these issues.

Read More | Official Oblivion Forums


GameSpot has an excellent article breaking down the differences between the Xbox 360 and the PC versions of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Those people with low to high-end PC configurations and an Xbox 360 can now decide which is the best platform to experience Oblivion. The Xbox 360 version will definitely offer more “tuned” performance for smooth gameplay out of the box, but users will obviously lose access to the significant online mod communities that were built up around previous Elder Scrolls releases. PC users will more than likely have to do some tuning and tweaking to get the best performance out of Oblivion and the graphical experience will likely be for the worse on anything but high-end PCs.

GameSpot also compares load times; potentially the PC could have better load times, but the Xbox 360 isn’t extremely slow to load. It would have been interesting to see a comparison of the load times on the Xbox 360 with and without the external hard drive, however.

Gamespot does an excellent job of laying out the differences, and for people who already have the hardware and aren’t considering upgrading to bigger and badder tech, the guide certainly sets expectations for the user experience in various configurations. However, when the question of upgrading comes around, things are a little more murky, and the choices will come down to budget and personal preference.

Read More | GameSpot

Pokemon Ranger Screens

A new preview of the Japanese version of the latest Pokémon game to tap into the “gotta catch ‘em all” compulsion, Pokémon Ranger for the Nintendo DS has surfaced. Ranger is probably the closest of any of the spin-offs to the parent RPG in gameplay yet, but with all input handled by the stylus. The gameplay is purportedly a mix of action-RPG style gameplay using the pen input and the more traditional RPG offerings of a standard Pokémon game. Pokémon are captured by drawing circles around them; the more advanced the monster, the more circles have to be drawn. Complicating this is the fact that the creatures move around, and there are obstacles to be dealt with. The Pokémon “rock-paper-scissors” style gameplay comes into effect when the player has captured some Pokémon, the various special abilities can be used to proceed further in the game, and to hinder enemies in battle. Nintendo has yet to announce a U.S. release date for the game, but this almost seems to be a lock for U.S. customers.

Read More | 1Up

The Elder Scrolls IV

If there is one thing that is a constant in the world of video games, it’s the argument of console vs. PC.  In the past, the PC has usually won on terms of image quality and the sheer number of polygons that can be smoothly processed, but times are changing.  With the introduction of the Xbox 360, and the eventual release of the PS3, the lines are more blurred than ever.  So if visuals can no longer pick an easy winner, then certainly game availability is a deciding factor.  A good argument if there ever was one, and one that remains credible as progress marches forward.  However, what happens when a game is released for both platforms, at the same time?  Now, it comes down to not only visuals, but gameplay differences, hardware capabilities, and so forth.

A game that has recently been released to the salivating hordes of RPG fans, on both the PC and Xbox 360, is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Ars Technica has done a review of the game on both pieces of hardware, and while I don’t totally agree with the way the review was done (separate reviewers were used for each platform), it still provides some interesting insight into areas where one system is “better” than the other.  One platform did score higher than the other, and . . . well, you’ll just have to read the review to find out.

Regardless of the outcome, the game has great visuals and overall gameplay, and looks to be a hit for RPG fans everywhere, no matter what it’s played on.

Read More | Ars Technica
Read More | The Elder Scrolls Official Website

DescriptionSquare-Enix has released a partial list of American voice actors for its upcoming Kingdom Hearts II.

- Haley Joel Osment as Sora
- David Gallagher as Riku
- Hayden Panettier as Kairi
- Jesse McCartney as Roxas
- Britany Snow as Namine
- Christopher Lee as DiZ
- Steve Burton as Cloud
- Rachael Leigh Cook as Tifa
- Mena Suvari as Aerith
- Hedy Buress as Yuna
- Tara Strong as Rikku
- Gwendoline Yeo as Paine
- Ming-Na as Mulan
- James Woods as Hades
- Zach Braff as Chicken Little

KHII is due out in North America on March 28th and is sure to be a hit. If you played the first title in the series, you probably can’t wait to get your hands on its sequel. As for the voice actors, it looks like we’ve got a good amount of returners - including Haley Joel. I’m glad to see James Woods is back as Hades but I am a little disappointed to see that Chicken Little will make an appearance in the game. In all honesty, Chicken Little wasn’t the best Disney movie, so my hopes aren’t too high for his section of the game. Of course, Square could always do wonders with it so, I’ll just wait and see.

Read More | Square-Enix

Yeah, you read that right. The developer Super Fighting Team is going to release Beggar Prince, a new RPG, for Sega’s old machine this spring!

Beggar Prince tells the story of Steven, a bored prince who decides to escape his castle dressed as a beggar to experience life among the commoners. Of course with the prince gone the evil Minister usurps control of the throne and now Steven is barred from re-entering his own castle. Thus begins Steven’s adventure of who must prove his identity and retake the throne.

The game sounds worth a look, but unfortunately it’s going to retail for $46. Yowzers!

Read More | Gaming Steve

World of WarcraftToday Blizzard announced that its massively multi-player online RPG, World of Warcraft, now has over 5 million subscribers worldwide. We have only one word to sum that up: WOW. The World of Warcraft game achieved the status of number 1 MMORPG back in July when they hit three and a half million subscribers. With the game recently launching in Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong, you know the numbers were going to get astronomical. If you’re looking for more Warcraft action, be on the lookout for The Burning Code, an expansion that hits next year.

Read More | Gaming Horizon

Looking for a good laugh? Watch a few characters battle in an entertaining fan-video linked below. The reenactment is based off of Final Fantasy battles and features a limit break along with some good old summoning. If this video doesn’t put you in a good mood and make you laugh, we don’t know what will.

The video’s currently being hosted on Google Video. What would we ever do without Google?

Read More | Google Video