Here I am, about seven weeks after the launch of Soul Calibur IV, finally getting to bring you guys our thoughts on the game. Before we jump in, a bit of background on Soul Calibur IV. The game hit Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on July 29 here in North America, followed by a release in Japan, Europe, and Australia on July 31, and then finally the UK on August 1.This is the fourth installment in the Soulcalibur series, and it features a Story mode, as well as Arcade, Training, Museum, and Tower of Lost Souls modes. That last one is new to the series, and rewards you, as the fighter, for winning special battles. Also new to the series is the inclusion of a few characters from the Star Wars universe - namely, Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Apprentice.
The game comes just about three years after the release of Soulcalibur III back in 2005, and is the first Soulcalibur title to feature online play. Now, on to our review.
This morning, T-Mobile and Google held the press conference to announce the first phone to officially launch with the Android OS, the T-Mobile G1. You are going to hear a lot of people comparing this one to the iPhone, so let’s jump in to the feature set. The G1 sports 3G, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera, is based on a fully open-source OS. The Android OS gives you access to the Android Market (think of that as being similar to the App Store), as well as built-in support for Amazon’s MP3 store, for downloading music on the go. Even cooler, in our opinion, are the things that are real firsts in the mobile phone space - Push Gmail, and Google Maps with Street View.
You can pick up the T-Mobile G1 on October 22, at a nice price of $179.99 with a 2-year agreement. If you can’t wait to spend the cash, you can even pre-order one now at the G1 website. If you are over in the UK, it’s yours in November, while the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Czech Republic will have to wait until sometime in the first quarter of 2009.
Read More | T-Mobile G1 product page
Earlier today, I received word that a second iPhone App had been denied access into the App Store, with Apple citing that the application duplicates existing functionality already found in the Apple ecosystem. This is beginning to become a problem, and if you aren’t seeing why, allow me to explain why this is so alarming to me. In case you hadn’t heard, a couple of weeks ago, an app called Podcaster was rejected by Apple for similar reason. The line of thinking there was that Podcaster, an app that would allow you to subscribe to and download podcasts while on the go, duplicated functionality already found in iTunes.
Now, if you’ve never used an iPhone, allow me to point out the absurdity. There is nothing on the iPhone or iPod touch that allows you to subscribe to, or even download, a podcast to your device. Sure, you can open the file in Safari, but that is not what we are talking about. That’s right, even if you enter the iTunes app, you will find right away that podcasts just aren’t there. So we have to then assume that Apple was referring to the iTunes desktop software when they said that Podcaster duplicated functionality. Really? Is that a major issue that a company decided to fix a gaping hole on the iPhone, even if that hole doesn’t exist on the desktop? Why, then, are there so many calculators in the App Store? After all, not only do we have a calculator as part of OS X, but there is a calculator that ships installed by default on the iPhone as well. It seems we have a double-standard here.
Animal Crossing is on of the main Nintendo franchises that many a gamer has been waiting to see hit Wii since the console launched. We were able to catch up with Janet Braulio of Nintendo to get a look at some of the gameplay features, WiiSpeak integration, as well as what we can expect with the game drops this November. This is definitely one we are looking forward to getting our hands on.
Asfar as what sets this apart from other Animal Crossing experences you may have had in the past, Katsuya Eguchi, leader of Animal Crossing’s production development, stated, “someone could send a letter from their cellphone or from an email address on a PC to the Wii, and then the player living in the town in Animal Crossing could receive that letter.” In another interview with IGN, Katsuya Eguchi also discussed how his team continues exploring potential ways to take advantage of the WiiConnect24 feature such as allowing friends to visit other towns or leave messages while the machine is in standby mode.
You can pick up Animal Crossing: City Folk in the US on November 16.
Ten days ago, Verizon FiOS TV officially launched here in Washington state. I was actually invited to speak at the launch event that took place that day, alongside Verizon representatives, and local government officials. I was specifically chosen as a case study of just how good FiOS is, since I literally moved specifically because Comcast was way too slow for the things we expected out of our Internet connection here at Gear Live HQ. It was an event meant to talk up the advantages of FiOS over cable (specifically, Comcast, in this area). Obviously, with FiOS looming over their territory, Comcast went into damage control mode to combat Verizon’s claims that they were the best option for Internet and television services. We were sent both the FiOS press release and the Comcast press release, and we figured we would respond to the claims of each, point-by-point.
For some background, we’ve been Comcast customers for over six years, for both Internet and television services. When we moved for FiOS 15 months ago, Comcast was still our cable television provider. As of today, I am a FiOS customer for both Internet and television, and as of 10 days ago, am no longer a Comcast customer. Now, on with the comparisons.
You that 2G iPod touch that Apple was all excited about, being that it’s the thinnest iPod touch ever (despite being only the second one ever made)? We figured you guys might be interested in having us take a bunch of unboxing images of the one that just got delivered here to Gear Live HQ. Yeah, this thing is thin, and if you don’t already have a first-gen iPod touch, you should seriously look into this model if you’ve been waiting one. It’s a nice improvement over the original. Check out the rest of the images over at our iPod touch 2G unboxing gallery.
Read More | iPod touch 2G unboxing
Gallery: iPod touch 2G unboxing gallery
Okay, we’ve been hitting you with snippets of Zune news all day, especially as it pertains to the hardware. Now it’s time to break down all the changes that the Zune 3.0 software is bringing, both from the hardware side of things, as well as the software client side of things. On the hardware side of things, we are seeing new features like support for games, the ability to buy songs tagged while using the FM radio, and the ability to browse and download from the Zune Marketplace directly from the device itself. Over on software, we see a bunch of improvements to the client that are all focused on music discovery and helping you experience your music library in a whole new way. A lot of the changes seem geared towards Zune Pass subscribers (which, by the way, we think is the best deal in music). Click on through for an in-depth look at all the important changes that Zune 3.0 brings.
Okay, so the new Zune 3.0 software is live, and we have new Zune hardware to go along with it. We figured we’d bring you a look at the Zune 120 and Zune 16 that just came out, as compared to last years Zune 80 and Zune 8. The changes in the hardware are all cosmetic, which to us meant that the best way to show it to you guys was in a gallery. As you will see, this years Zune are focused on gloss and sheen, as opposed to last years matte two-tone look. Hit the Zune comparison gallery for all the shots.
Read More | Zune 120 and 16 vs Zune 80 and 8
Alongside the news that the Zune 3.0 software has launched, Microsoft has also released a couple of new Zunes. Here, we are focusing specifically on the new Zune 120. Changes from last year’s Zune 80 are minimal, with everything being completely cosmetic in nature. As you will see, the Zune 120 features a glossy black front, as opposed to last year’s matte black, and the back of the Zune 120 is black, while the Zune 80 had a metallic aluminum finish. If you wanna get technical, then I should also point out that the Wi-Fi antenna is also now black, and the writing and etching on the back of the Zune 120 is white. Of course, we’ve got a full Zune 120 unboxing gallery for you to enjoy, so go check it out.
Read More | Zune 120 unboxing gallery
Gallery: Zune 120 unboxing gallery
For all you Zune fans out there, you will be pleased to know that the Zune 3.0 software went live this morning, and is ready for your consumption. The update brings a slew of new features to the table, with a lot of them being firsts in the industry (we’re looking at you, iTunes). What you’ve got is the desktop software update, alongside a firmware update for the actual Zune devices as well. And just like last year, the updates work on all previous generation Zunes as well - at no cost to you (we’re looking at you iPod touch!).