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HALO MALL » Archive for June 2011

Free to Play Games: Faux Pas or Intelligent Move?


Over the last several years, gamers have seen the increasing popularity of “free to play” games, whether it be Maple Story or Battlefield Heroes. Recently however, most gamers have been exposed to the stripped down versions of Ghost Recon Online or Battlefield Play4Free, which rely heavily on micro-transaction to bolster gameplay.

But, in an unprecedented move (given to how successful Team Fortress 2 has been), Valve has made the game free to play on it’s Steam client. This is where the whole concept of free to play starts to pique my interest. Whereas, EA has offered watered down elements of a full game with its free to play section, Valve strikes back with TF2 in all it’s pride and glory, literally. Instead of spending $10 on weapons in an EA game, you can cough up just $0.49 cents to upgrade to a premium account for TF2 on Steam (permanently!). Granted, TF2 has almost been out for 4 years, but that really doesn’t matter here, as Valve has updated the game left and right (for years) at no cost to the user. Such a maneuver, allows Valve diligently to ascertain revenue that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Firstly, it is psychological, when a game is free to play, most users wouldn’t mind spending money on a few micro transactions $(1-10). On the other hand, if users were forced to pay let’s say $30-60 on the game, then they would more than likely refuse to make additional purchases in the near future. Secondly, over time, users who don’t keep any particular track of how much they spend on DLC, wouldn’t mind shelling out $5-10, every few months or so. Compliment that with the fact that users will now be more inclined to make their purchases off of Steam if additional items are offered for TF2 when making a purchase, and that’s a profusion of revenue heading Valve’s way.

Filed under: Featured

Creepy Fear 3 Gameplay


I literally got the **** scared out of me during this part of the game. Please watch in HD, thanks!

Filed under: Featured

Forza Motorsport 4 Boxart Revealed!


Filed under: Featured

Digital Vs. Physical Games


During it’s advent in 2003, very few individuals would have predicted that Steam would have become the behemoth that it is considered today in Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) sector of the software market. Currently, Steam’s market share accounts for 70% or more of the $4 billion dollar PC digital games market (exact figures are never released to the public). That’s pretty impressive considering how such a model of doing business has started only fairly recently to garner some serious attention from major players in the software/movie industry. As always, Valve has consistently been at the forefront of innovation (move aside Nintendo!) and has generally been eager to experiment with different ideas (Steam Engine, Left 4 Dead, Portal, etc.)

With that being said, there are many critics, especially in the retail sector who are declared enemies of the massive push for digital content. Many are quick to lambaste digital distribution of any software, because it quickly starts to eat away at their sales and ultimately put the final nail in the coffin, forcing them to close down physical retailers.

Per contra, this is not exactly a cause for concern as no one complains that we don’t use cart and buggies anymore? While the rise of modern medicine may have forced the voodoo practicing doctor to seek employment elsewhere, do we raise our hands in the air out of anger? No, we welcome progress and this situation is no different.

Filed under: Featured

Perfect Shot of Espresso


Filed under: Featured

Killzone 3 DLC Video- From the Ashes


Filed under: Featured

Roxio Game Cap- Full Video Review!


Low cost entry into preserving your video games. Jon reviews his first test for the new capture system.

Filed under: Featured

Vinotemp 12 bottle Dual zone wine cooler review


I’m reviewing the Vinotemp wine cooler as a converted humidor with spanish cedar wood outfitting parts of the interior. Although, it has received unanimous praise from cigar enthusiasts alike, it has come under heavy fire from others for it’s reliability. To be fair though, I haven’t seen many problems on the various cigar forums with this brand, so I believe someone can just be spamming sites with fake sob stories about allegedly broken units.

Now the unit that I have received is simply fantastic looking! The door is fitted with polished silver that radiates sturdiness and good construction. The unit is also fairly compact, so if you are tight on space, this may in fact be the perfect purchase for your most valuable cigars.

Inside the unit, it is very spacious for stacking cigars, boxes, or trays (depending on personal preferences). Every unit comes with dual climate zones, so you can control two different temperatures if need be (ready-to-smoke cigars vs aging your cigars).

This unit is ideal for battling the vicissitudes of a brutally hot summer or a harsh winter, it’s a plus when you go on vacation for a few days too!

Filed under: Featured

F3AR-First Impressions


Alright, where to begin? Let me start off by saying that F3AR is a dramatically different experience from Fear 2. The combat is more fluid, gritty and has what seems like the perfect touch with a new cover system. I have to say, there’s nothing like an enemy screaming, “I’ve got visual”, only to see him go down like a sack of bricks seconds later. In more ways than one, F3AR feels very much like the original game, the atmosphere is downright eerie at times and you flinch at even the slightest noise. Blood is the most basic staple in F3AR’s diet, you will literally be inundated by the sheer amount of gore in this game. One of the most prolific highlights of the combat in this game is going in for the headshot on an enemy soldier. In most cases, a headshot will create a mural of blood on the nearby wall. In F3AR, blood is art and you’re the artist. With that being said, F3AR is a fine addition to the series and reminds of us of what makes shooters great to play, with crisp game mechanics and a fun experience from start to finish.

Video review will be up by tomorrow, stay tuned!

Filed under: Events, Featured

War is Beautiful-From the Ashes


Late last night, I was blasting away Helghast troops on the brand new DLC pack from Guerilla games. I have to say these new Killzone 3 maps are simply superb, every single one of them. Although 2 of these maps are remakes, I like to call them “spiritual remakes” as they are significantly changed from their KZ2 predecessors, these are well worth the money ($4.99). There are four maps included in the pack, all of which really tout the muscle of the Killzone 3 engine, each map is visually enticing, in the gritty war torn type of way. Thus far, I do not regret making this purchase and I hope the developers keep pushing more map packs out.

Video previews on the way!

Filed under: Featured, Game Maps

Child of Eden Review


Alright, to be quite honest, I wasn’t keeping tabs on this game until its release last week, when it hit stores on Tuesday. However, I don’t quite understand much of the praise behind this game from most of the reputable critics out there (IGN, Gamespot, etc..).  Yes, it’s fun…for about an hour and a half, until it starts to become incredibly linear and just drag on. It’s definitely an interesting game, don’t get me wrong, but it won’t hold people over for very long at all (the game makes Heavenly Sword feel like a 20 hour game). Building on the previous points, this game would have faired much better in this reviewers opinion, if it was released on XBLA for $10-20. A game this short and repetitive does not justify a $50 price tag to say the very least. Especially when the game just feels like a rail shooter version Geometry Wars with sharp visuals).  On a side note, anyone that puffs up this game to be the #1 reason to buy a Kinect, just shows you how bad their taste is and just how little the Kinect currently has to offer to gamers.

Overall: 7/10

Filed under: Breaking Game News, Featured

Movie Review: Harry Brown (2009)


Most of the younger generations know Michael Caine as playing the role of the famous butler in the new Batman reboots. While younger Americans may always associate Mr. Caine with this memorable role, he also has a fairly impressive resume of his own. This little and often overlooked fact truly comes to light with this brash and utterly violent film. Essenetially, Mr. Caine is aging in a rather Dystopian England, where hooligans roam the street, harassing and assaulting innocents, Mr. Caine pretends to remain oblivious to this gloomy development. However, several unfortunate events force Mr. Caine’s character, to come face to face with this grim reality. Although, the movie does rely heavily at times on an awfully simple premise, Mr. Caines’s acting is superb, making up for any shortcomings in the plot. For someone who is currently 78 years old, he surely makes Dirty Harry look like a complete wuss.  Final Verdict: 3.5/4

Filed under: Uncategorized

2K Games blacklists Review Sites


The defiant and rogue games publisher, 2K games, has recently gone on a ban hammer spree. But, they are not targeting gamers who exploit glitches in online gamers to get an unfair advantage, they are going after the gaming press.

In an unparalleled move, The Redner Group, the PR agency responsible for this marketing quagmire, apparently has an axe to grind with game critics. Although to be quite honest, I am not the biggest fan of game critics (see InFamous 2 review on Gamespot). It is in this blogger’s truthful opinion that such unwarranted actions by game publishers is literally akin to modern day thuggery.

A reputable company like 2k Games should never go after critics because of a abysmal and well-deserved score. Gamers and reviewers alike have been unanimous in lambasting Duke Nukem Forever.

 

Especially with the advent of the internet and social media, this brash maneuver will most certainly backfire on  2K Games.

Filed under: Breaking Game News, Events, Featured