Plugged In

GAME NEWS: ‘MGS4′ delayed until 2008


PlayStation 3 fans won’t be getting their hands on Solid Snake’s latest adventure this holiday season. Konami has announced that “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” has been delayed in both Japan and the United States. The game was originally set to be released later this year. It is now on schedule to ship during the first quarter of 2008 in Japan and the second quarter of 2008 in the U.S. That means gamers should expect to see ‘MSG4’ sometime around late April-early June ’08.

Call it a hunch, but don’t be surprised to see an announcement soon about ‘MGS4’ on the Xbox 360. The title is currently a PS3 exclusive, but there have been rumblings about that changing. During Konami’s press release to announce the PS3 delay, the developer said the delay was to “make further improvements to the quality of the game and provide even greater enjoyment for more customers worldwide.” More customers worldwide? Xbox 360 customers, perhaps? Stay tuned.



The NBA season tips off this week, but the latest edition in 2K Sports’ pro hoops series is already in mid-season form. NBA 2K8 builds on what I considered to be last year’s sports game of the year, NBA 2K, with more signature shot styles and animations, a deeper franchise mode and beefed-up AI.

2K and developer Visual Concepts raised the bar for basketball games with the introduction of Signature Style in NBA 2K7. For this season, they’ve really worked hard to make sure each player not only looks like their real-life counterpart, but plays like them, as well. This is especially evident in the post, where guys like Tim Duncan and Shaq will eat your lunch all day long. I can’t stress enough how much I love the idea and implementation of Signature Style. It really keep the game fresh over the course of the season.

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ANOTHER WEEK, another price drop for the drastically underperforming PlayStation 3. OK, so maybe it only seems like the price of the PS3 is being cut every week. But you can now score an 80GB console for $499 — $100 less than the launch price. Sony has also announced plans to release a stripped-down version of the PS3 for $399.

That new 40GB system will lack any form of backward compatibility, meaning it will not play PS2 or PS1 games. Why would Sony take out a feature that has been standard on PS3s since the system debuted? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the final decision to remove backward compatibility was made to drive sales of PS3 games. And people still wonder why the PS3 is being buried in this console generation? C’mon.

HALO 3 STILL RULES: The September sales figures are in and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, Halo 3 was the driving force in helping the gaming industry rake in approximately $1.3 billion for the month. The NPD Group, which tracks video game sales, announced that Halo 3 sold more 3.3 million copies during the first 12 days it was available in the U.S. Halo’s popularity also helped push the Xbox 360 to the top of the console chart.

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REVIEW: Spider-Man, Friend or Foe?


Looking for that next great epic gaming experience? Spider-Man: Friend or Foe isn’t it.

OK, maybe that’s a little harsh. After all, Friend or Foe isn’t terrible. It’s just boring. But it’s the most simplistic video game I’ve played since Super Nintendo days. Granted, the game is being targeted as a family-friendly title. In that regard, Friend or Foe is a success. (My 3-year-olds love it!) But any gamer looking for a challenge had best look elsewhere.

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ROUND-UP: Video-Gaming Week in Review

I have been a bad boy. During the last two weeks, I’ve spent so much time playing Halo 3 and NBA 2K8 that I’ve neglected my blogging duties. Therefore, as a self-imposed punishment, I’m not going to turn on Xbox 360 FOR AN ENTIRE DAY! That’s right. I’m suspending my Xbox 360 gaming privileges for a whole 24 hours to show how much you, the readers, mean to me. (And just for the record, this decision has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that MLB Power Pros for the Wii is a blast to play. Honest. Nothing at all.) Anyway, on to the news:

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REVIEW: Video walk-through of “Halo 3″ for Xbox

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Join us as “PluggedIn” takes a video walk-through of “Halo 3” for Xbox, as we check out some of the new features and rate the game-play of this highly anticipated Xbox game. I’ll talk you through some scenes from the game.

NEW RELEASES: ‘Halo’ to the Chief

Well, today’s the day gamers around the world have been waiting for — the launch of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360. Judging by the number of people lined up outside local GameStops on Monday night, chances are most of you have already begun to finish the fight. For the rest of you, here are a few Halo 3 videos to give you a taste of what you’re missing.And be sure to check back later this week for our full review of Halo 3.

REVIEW: ‘John Woo Presents Stranglehold’

John Woo Presents Stranglehold

Every self-respecting action movie fan has heard of legendary Hong Kong director John Woo, whose credits include everything from “Face Off” to “Mission: Impossible 2.”

Now Woo has set his sights on video games, and the result is every bit as compelling as anything he has ever captured on film.

John Woo Presents Stranglehold is the spiritual successor to “Hard Boiled,” the intense shoot ’em up that helped introduce Woo to the U.S. audience. Chow Yun-Fat reprises his role from the film in Stranglehold, lending his voice to the gritty Inspector Tequila.


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Console war? What console war?


A question:
Can you call it a console war if one side refuses to put up a fight?

The latest sales numbers released by the independent market research firm NPD Group were announced recently and the news wasn’t good for Sony. Again. The recently repriced Xbox 360 outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 by more than a 2-to-1 margin in August. Worse yet, sales of the PS3 — which also recently received a price cut — fell roughly 18 percent from July. Sales for the Xbox 360 jumped 63 percent over that same period, thanks in large part to its aforementioned price cut.

Of course, neither console could keep pace with Nintendo, which sold more than 400,000 Wiis in August. But as Nintendo likes to keep telling everyone, it’s not competing against Microsoft or Sony. Another reason for Microsoft’s sales boost was undoubtedly the arrival of Madden 08 and BioShock, the top two selling next-gen software titles for the month. Only one PS3 title, Madden 08, cracked the NPD’s Top 20 list of software sales.

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With the first full week of the NFL behind us, it’s officially time for football. And time for football video games. Since I’m a little late to the party with these reviews, I thought I’d go ahead and condense all three major gridiron releases for the Xbox 360 — NCAA 08, Madden 08 and All-Pro Football 2K8 — into one take. Consider this your one-stop shop for all things pigskin.NCAA 08

The good: Deep dynasty mode featuring a revamped recruiting model; smooth gameplay and a ton of new animations. The bad: No alternate uniforms; poorly implemented menu system. The bottom line: If you’re a college football fan, there’s no good reason not to pick up NCAA 08. EA Sports’ game is light-years ahead of last year’s offering, and the improved frame rate really quickens the gameplay and puts control back into the user’s hands. That’s a good thing. Score: 8.5/10.


The good: The best gameplay of this year’s releases; plenty of create-a-team options; online leagues; great assortment of football legends. The bad: No NFL license; no dynasty or career mode; graphics not up to par with other 2K Sports titles. The bottom line: The spiritual successor to NFL 2K5, this game overcomes the lack of real NFL players or teams by offering the goods where it counts most — on the field. The choice to go with former NFL stars works great and provides a nice bit of nostalgia for longtime football fans like myself. Score: 8.5/10.


The good: The best next-gen Madden experience to date; fleshed-out franchise mode and owner’s mode; gameplay is tight and responsive; emphasis on weapons adds a strategic element. The bad: Gameplay plagued by an abundance of turnovers; no online leagues; CPU doesn’t challenge calls. The bottom line: Chances are, if you’re a football fan you’ve already picked up your copy of Madden. If you’re still on the fence, rest assured that this isn’t the same steaming pile of poo that we’ve had to play the past two seasons. Madden 08 is actually fun to play. This franchise finally seems headed in the right direction. Also, don’t dismiss the Wii version of Madden 08. The motion controls are tight, the new Family Play mode is great for beginners and the mini-games are plentiful. Score: 8.3/10.