X10 News: First Modern Warfare 2 DLC Hits Xbox 360 First, Maybe in Spring

February 11, 2010 by Thomas Mulrooney  
Filed under News, Xbox

Microsoft has reiterated that that the first piece of Modern Warfare 2 DLC will come to Xbox 360 first.

The earlier rumour was confirmed at X10, the resurrected Xbox expo, with the news that the 360 will have a 30 day head start over all other systems. The rumour that the release date will be 1 March has not been confirmed, with Activision delivering a “no comment” on that.

The worrying thing is that there’s another rumour that says the DLC will only include two maps, which is pretty poor if you ask me. This exclusivity trend is also worrying, as a lot of gamers are going to miss out on new content for a whole month (although it’s not as bad as the GTA IV DLC 360 timed exclusives that have only just been announced for PS3).

So it’s pretty much rumour central here right now, but we’ll be posting more solid info as it comes in.

December 2009 NPDs

January 15, 2010 by Ivan Cronyn  
Filed under News, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox

Yesterday, the NPD Group revealed its U.S. console retail numbers for December and for the full year of 2009. Year-end NPD results provide a key metric in judging the health and overall trending of the game industry.

Analysts have been aware for some months that the year 2009 was not keeping pace with the previous year, and this turned out to be true, down 8 percent to $19.66 billion.

Every market segment declined in 2009 — except for portable hardware, which rose 6 percent. Seven out of the ten best-selling games of the year were first-party Nintendo titles, and the number one game of the year was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

GameStop and several major publishers, like Electronic Arts, Take-Two and Ubisoft, all recently lowered their fiscal year forecasts on a weak market, and analysts awaited results of the industry’s performance in December to predict rebound potential in 2010.

But in slightly better news following a tough year, the video game industry saw December revenues up 4% to $5.53 billion — not only its best holiday yet, its best single sales month on record. Nearly all analysts had expected December to be flat, if not down.

However, video game software sales were still down 7% to $2.58 billion for the month. So, given the challenging climate that so many companies face, an overall boost is a ray of light for the year to come, even if game publishers did not feel the benefit.

And the Best Selling Xbox 360 Game of 2009 is…

January 14, 2010 by Thomas Mulrooney  
Filed under News, Xbox

Well, take a wild guess?

ELSPA has confirmed that, yes you guessed it; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the best selling Xbox 360 game during 2009 in the UK. It has also won the prize of all-formats and PS3 best seller of the year, so it has pretty much covered all bases.

On top of that the game is said to have grossed over $1 billion worth of sales throughout the world, which is staggering considering the game only came out in November. Whatver you may think about Activision, they damn well know how to hype a game.

Here’s the full 360 top five best selling games:

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  2. FIFA 10
  3. Forza Motorsport 3
  4. Assassin’s Creed II
  5. Halo 3: ODST

Latest UK Charts (Week Ending 9 January 2010)

January 11, 2010 by Thomas Mulrooney  
Filed under News, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox

latestukcharts1101(2)

This week’s multiformat chart sees Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 holding on to the number one spot for its 9th consecutive week. So, in case you were wondering whether or not everyone on the planet already has a copy of the game then there’s your answer.

After skipping the next three (which are, let’s be honest, pretty predictable) we come to a new entry at 5, which is the excellent Bayonetta. Personally I believe the game should be higher, but it seems that the might of Activison and Nintendo won out this week.

The only other new entry is Darksiders at 8, which seemingly came from nowhere but is allegedly pretty good. I won’t be getting it or anything this week, as I’m holding out for Mass Effect 2 and desperately trying to clear my backlog before it arrives.

You can check out the full chart here. Why not also tell me what you’re planning on buying, if anything?

November NPDs

December 22, 2009 by Ivan Cronyn  
Filed under Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox

Modern Warfare 2

The NPD Group compiles sales figures for the USA on a monthly basis, including video game software and hardware. It shouldn’t be surprising that Modern Warfare 2 was top of the heap in November, with over 6 million sales. The usual Wii suspects abound, but console sales reveal a surprise – the PS3 is back at the bottom of the pile again.

Here are the rankings:

Software
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) – 4,200,000
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) – 1,870,000
3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) – 1,390,000
4. Assassin’s Creed II (Xbox 360) – 794,700
5. Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox 360) – 744,000
6. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) – 720,200
7. Wii Fit Plus (Wii) – 679,000
8. Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) – 448,400
9. Dragon Age: Origins (Xbox 360) – 362,100
10. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) – 315,000

Home consoles
1. Wii – 1,260,000
2. Xbox 360 – 819,500
3. PlayStation 3 – 710,400
4. PlayStation 2 – 203,100

Handhelds
1. Nintendo DS – 1,700,000
2. PSP – 293,900

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

November 20, 2009 by Jeff Barker  
Filed under PC, Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

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Overview

 

Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
 

Release Date: 10th November 2009 (Worldwide)
 

Developer/Publisher: Infinity Ward/Activision
 

Genre: Shooter
 

Platform[s]: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Storyline

 

Set five years after the death of Imran Zakhaev (Call of Duty 4’s main antagonist), the Ultranationalist party has taken control of Russia and starts attacking the US. A terrorist called Makarov (one of Zakhaev’s former generals) heads up the attacks, and it’s down to Soap and a host of new characters (along with an old favourite) to hunt Makarov and shut him down. Kicking off in Afghanistan and taking in many locations around the world from Washington D.C. to the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is an epic tale of battle, honour and betrayal that will – quite simply – blow your socks off, put them back on and then blow them off again, just for a laugh. And you will love every single bloody minute of it.

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Gameplay

First of all, the basics: MW2 plays exactly the same as CoD4, and despite a change to the HUD everything else remains the same. In case you haven’t played CoD4 (apparently there’s still a couple of you out there), LS controls movement, RS is the “look” function, RT is your (often hair) trigger, LT aims, LB and RB launch differing types of grenade, and the face buttons reload and switch weapons. MW2 also employs the same squad-based FPS action as the first outing, using increasingly impressive set-pieces and situations to move the action along – which, being honest, left a lot of gamers wondering if things could get any better after Zakhaev had been dispatched and, as it stands right now, let me be the first to tell you that things are precisely 153% better. Let’s get this straight, MW2 rocks. Not just in the “oooh, that’s quite good” way either, this is full-on-rock-and-roll “Ozzy Osbourne just jumped on stage with Kurt Cobain and Keith Moon and nailed a 20-minute long rendition of the best bit in Stairway To Heavenrocks.

The game starts with the standard training level, but instead of treating you like the newcomer, you’re instructing a group of new recruits at an Army base in Afghanistan. Wandering around the base post-training, the attention to detail becomes clear – soldiers play basketball, fix trucks, smoke and trade small talk, adding to the level of realism and helping you feel like you’re actually part of a living, breathing unit. This follows throughout the main campaign, and with increasingly hair-raising moments thrown at you (sometimes relentlessly), coupled with the sound of gunfire, Hans Zimmer’s superb soundtrack and your comrades voices backing you up in your headset we can honestly say we’ve never experienced anything quite as epic or immersive.

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Although the game suffers from the tried and tested “CoD respawning enemies” factor, Infinity Ward have reworked the AI so your quarry will now actively hunt you down and attempt to push you towards the next checkpoint – although at times it’s all too easy to become pinned down and overwhelmed by the sheer number of bullets flying at you, and popping in and out of cover to take your foes down usually ends in death from an opposite angle. It’s usually impossible to take out every enemy in a section (unless you’re particularly skilled), and running away is sometimes the best form of defence. Which begs the question, where did the 20-odd guys who were just trying to shoot your face off disappear to after you ran into the next street?! It’s a minor quibble however, as the next street is usually full of more enemies, and the action can be so frantic you really need to keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings in order to progress.

It is possible to just blast through the game in as gung-ho a manner as possible, but in order to stay alive you need to adapt tactically to each situation, and we’d actively encourage you to do so in order to get the most from the game. Dying over and over again in the same place for the same reasons can get old rather too quickly. For instance, in one stage you’re pitched into darkness without night vision, and the area fills with bad guys with laser sights on their weapons – firing at the source of multiple red dots and keeping your location secret is a tough call and requires a bit of subtlety and a keen aiming eye to pull it off, whereas just steaming in will get you torn to shreds. It’s the knowing which tactic to employ in each situation that’s the kicker, and from time to time things can descend into a little bit of trial and error, but it keeps the campaign fresh and exciting and the whole thing will keep you on your toes until the final (shocking) stages of the game.

Each stage is distinct and memorable in it’s own right, asking you to provide predator missile support whilst defending a Burger Town restaurant in one or zipping down the side of a snowy mountain in a skidoo in another, and the set-pieces are sometimes ridiculously epic…I know we just mentioned about the closing stages of the game being shocking, but we can’t enthuse about MW2’s story and diversity enough. It’s a rip-snorting adventure that careers you from situation to situation in a fantastic fashion and it’s all too easy to become wrapped up in its “filmic” qualities.

But we do feel that the Single Player game might be slightly overlooked in favour of the (albeit superb) Multiplayer option. Building on the perks system of the original, MW2 offers a heap of new perks (including ‘pro’ versions), callsigns, emblems, attachments and killstreaks to mess around with – and all can be customized to suit you and your preferred playing style. These are unlocked by completing challenges or getting to a certain rank in multiplayer, and for every kill, condition met or game won you receive XP, adding to your overall ranking level. All the usual Team Deathmatch and Free For All match types return, but IW have thrown in some new games in the form of Moshpit (a randomly selected ‘playlist’ of three games), Team Deathmatch Express (offering a shorter time in the lobby between games) and a new Third-Person mode in the Free For All and One on One games, which pulls things out of the standard FPS view and means you can see your CoD character on screen for the first time. Although it sounds like it shouldn’t work, it does – and it manages to keep the same fast pacing as the rest of the multiplayer options and offers another fresh aspect to the game.

Added to this is the new Special Ops mode, a series of challenges that can be tackled singularly or in co-op, and range from Horde style endurance tests to protecting your comrades with an AC-130. It’s a brilliant addition to an already stellar package, and we guarantee you’ll want to rinse the mode to get the max amount of stars for each mission, and the kudos from your peers, of course!

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Graphics

If CoD4 is the attractive older sister, then MW2 is the drop-dead gorgeous younger sibling you just knew would turn out to be way more attractive. The levels are varied and beautiful, and in HD they are glorious. Dust kicks up in sunlight, gun barrels flare and things catch on fire, causing a heat haze to rise. If things weren’t so hectic it would be quite easy to spend a fair bit of time wandering around exploring and seeing all the little touches each level has to offer (such as the Army base in the opening training section or the chickens frantically thrashing about in their cages during the Rio De Janeiro stage), and some of the vistas on offer are stunning. The characters look chunky and individual, and the lip-syncing and motion-capture is absolutely spot on. The only minor complaint we have is the dodgy “bobbing” animation NPC’s seem to have when running up stairs in the main campaign, but strangely enough this either doesn’t happen or isn’t noticeable during Multiplayer. You can really tell that Infinity Ward have stepped up their graphics engine for this one, and it’s hard to believe our faithful grey boxes haven’t given up the ghost processing all the beauty.

Audio

Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer provides the musical score for MW2, and it compliments each situation magnificently. From points of relative serenity to the most frantic of shootouts, Zimmer’s accompaniment adds an extra layer of sheen on to an already polished title. At points it’s both beautiful and poignant and makes some of the more dramatic set pieces a completely emotional experience. The voice acting is superb – every character you come across feels like a real person, and never once is the script clichéd, stereotypical or hackneyed. If MW2 had been pitched as a film we suspect Hollywood would be fighting amongst itself for it – and with all the old cast reprising their roles and some of the new guard (Lance Henriksen, for example) providing vocal duties you will find yourself caring about each and every character within the game. You will notice incidental noises like explosions, bullet ricochets and birds singing in the trees during a particularly frantic battle scene and you’ll wonder just how much there is going on that you really haven’t noticed.

Overall Score & Replayability

Modern Warfare 2 is the most hotly anticipated game of 2009 – if not the decade – and judging by the success of CoD4, it’s not hard to imagine Infinity Ward have attempted to pull out all the stops to go one better by making MW2 an even more epic, enjoyable and immersive experience. While we all knew IW would pull it off with ease, there has always been the small voice in the back of everyone’s mind saying “What if it’s rubbish? What if it doesn’t live up to the hype?”, and I’m pleased to say that that voice is now well and truly silenced by an M4A1 with an ACOG Sight.

Despite the general shortness of the excellent main campaign (on average it’s taken the VGR team around 5 ½ hours to complete), it’s so ridiculously epic that it doesn’t feel like you’ve been cheated at all. Add to this the enemy intel items you need to hunt down in each level and the Veteran difficulty mode to unlock, you won’t mind returning to it again and again. However, Multiplayer is the real jewel in MW2’s crown, with its refined customization options and sheer addictiveness; we can see it holding us over until MW3 inevitably rears its wonderful head. Don’t look at MW2 like another FPS or another instalment in the CoD series – look at it as it deserves to be: a beautiful piece of modern interactive entertainment. Purchase instantly.

Russia recalls Modern Warfare 2

November 16, 2009 by Ivan Cronyn  
Filed under News, PC, Playstation, Xbox

Modern Warfare 2

Russia has recalled all copies of Modern Warfare 2. Infinity Ward has patched the PC version in the country to get rid of the offending airport level completely, with an edited retail version due for release in stores shortly.

Russian gamers also aren’t best pleased that the game’s plot revolves around a US/Russian war, with Russia as the agressor.

In Russia, Modern Warfare 2 plays you.