Massively Multiplayer: Gaming In The New Millennium

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by RySenkari, Aug 11, 2016.

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  1. volvocrusher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2018
    I can easily see a Sonic burnout happening the same way that happened to Mario IOTL from 2009-2013. Hopefully Apple handles the franchise better.
     
  2. teg The Worst Unionist

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Aberystwyth
    It definitely can be done - see the MCU, but probably requires each of those platformers to feel fundamentally different from each other.
     
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  3. woweed New Hippie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    Looking at other annualized franchises: Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed for a while...Doesn't bode well.
     
  4. Roger Redux The Revisionist

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    Feb 14, 2015
    Location:
    The Mother of all ASBs (a.k.a. "The Real World")
    If your New Year's Resolutions included "Make more 30-year-olds squee like 12-year-old girls"....Congratulation! A Winner is You!
     
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  5. TheFaultsofAlts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    At this rate, don't be surprised if we see a sequel to SonicQuest that features the rest of the SatAM cast during Sonic's annual game schedule.
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Summer 2009 (Part 14) - I Came, I Saw, I Conkered

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    The Conkering Hero

    The Conkering Hero is a 3-D platformer developed by Rare exclusively for the Nintendo Sapphire. It's the third console title starring Conker the Squirrel, and it's a traditional collectathon style platformer, in which Conker must journey to a variety of realms donning the costumes of various heroic characters in order to save his home from a terrible evil. This is a departure from the formula of 2003's Conker: Grabbed By The Ghoulies, which ditched the collecting in favor of more objective-based gameplay. The Conkering Hero is an utterly shameless collectathon, not afraid to employ all the familiar cliches, while featuring numerous collectible items that must be gathered in order to progress through the game. These include gold medals, which are obtained through performing various heroic deeds and tasks, silver medals, which are collected in each world and serve a similar function to the notes in OTL's Banjo-Kazooie, and coins, which serve as the game's currency and can be spend on a variety of things. All three must be collected to advance through the game, and massive amounts of each must be collected to obtain the game's true ending. Conker retains his repertoire of moves from previous games, including his tail whip and jumping moves, but also gains a variety of other weapons and moves depending on what costume he's wearing at the time. The game features nine costumes in all, one for each of the game's nine worlds, including a knight costume, a superhero costume, a secret agent costume, a firefighter costume, a soldier costume, a karate master costume, a "plumber" costume (which suspiciously resembles Mario's costume), a monkey costume (which gives Conker some of Donkey Kong's skills), and a magical schoolgirl costume (and yes, Conker hates this costume and can't stop ribbing on it even as he blasts enemies with Sailor Moon-like powers). The game plays a lot like OTL's Banjo-Kazooie, and since Banjo-Kazooie became The Dreamers ITTL, this might actually be the closest thing to that game that exists ITTL besides perhaps the original Conker's Twelve Tales. However, while it does embrace a lot of the old 3-D platforming cliches, it also improves on a lot of aspects of the genre, making it avoid a lot of the pratfalls that plagued OTL's Yooka-Laylee. Many of the frustrating aspects of earlier 3-D platformers have been eliminated, the game ditches the traditional "lives" system and checkpoints are plentiful. The camera has been dramatically improved from earlier 3-D platforming efforts, allowing the player full control but also featuring an excellent default camera mode. Gold medal missions feature a fun variety of different objectives, with boss fights being creative and exciting, and platforming segments also featuring a lot of innovation. The game also makes sure that players know where to go and what to do, while also making silver and gold medal locations intuitive to discover. Coins, meanwhile, are plentiful, and most useful items and tools can be purchased with a minimum of grinding. The Conkering Hero thus ends up being more OTL Super Mario Galaxy than Yooka-Laylee (though its musical score isn't quite as beautiful and its physics aren't quite as innovative). The game features voice acting from mostly in-house Rare personnel and a small group of Los Angeles-based actors, though there are few if any recognizable names. Grant Kirkhope and David Wise team up to provide the game's score, which mixes a variety of genres. TTL's Conker series is significantly different from OTL's in terms of humor and tone: This isn't the M-rated Conker of OTL, but an E10+ Conker with some naughty humor and action violence, but still mostly family friendly.

    The game begins with Conker enjoying another "retirement" from heroics with his friends, including his girlfriend Berri (very few characters and elements from Conker: Grabbed By The Ghoulies appear in this game, so there's no Cooper and Amber). Suddenly, from the sky, a great evil appears, a dark cloud that coalesces into a massive being of pure evil, called the Terrormaster. The Terrormaster tells Conker that he'll be taking this world and there's nothing anybody can do about it, and before Conker can try to do something about it, a powerful wind sweeps him and his friends in all different directions. Conker ends up in the middle of a huge rubble pile, surrounded by books. The Library Fairy (a friendly being from the original game) appears before Conker and tells him that in order to save his friends, he'll have to find the heroes from these books and assume their powers. Conker is sick and tired of having to read, but the Library Fairy scolds him and tells him that if he wants to go back to his "retirement", he has no choice. Conker picks up the first book, the knight book, and finds a door leading to that corresponding world. In this game, the Library Fairy plays a much bigger role, advising Conker about his powers and generally annoying the heck out of him. For the most part, Conker's friends play a bigger supporting role as well, having not been captured but instead having been stranded in the many different worlds. Conker has to find gold medals in order to open world doors and silver medals in order to pay the Library Fairy to open up new parts of the world for him. Each of the game's nine worlds has three levels of gold medal objectives. Initially, there's five gold medals to collect. Once Conker pays the Library Fairy enough, another set of gold medal objectives become available, and then after Conker fulfills a hidden objective in each world, the final set of golds becomes available. Sometimes this objective is hidden behind a Library Fairy paywell, other times it isn't, so sometimes players can open up ten gold medals right away, while other times they have to wait a while. There are a total of 150 gold medals in the game (15 in each world and 15 scattered throughout the hub world), and 1000 silver medals (100 in each world and 100 scattered throughout the hub world). In order to "beat" the game (chasing Terrorforce out of the world and giving Conker his retirement), the player must collect 90 of those gold medals and a total of 700 silver medals. However (similarly to OTL's Banjo-Kazooie), that doesn't really "beat" the game. Terrorforce is gone, but not defeated, and in order to access Terrorforce's world, the player must collect a total of 135 gold medals and 900 silver medals. However, there are individual barriers in Terrorforce's world that must be knocked down with more gold and silver medals: bottom line, in order to fight the true final form of Terrorforce, the player must collect every gold and silver medal in the game, AND buy a full Uber Conker costume set from the store with a massive amount of coins. The Uber Conker suit is a futuristic giant mech suit that enables Conker to pretty much breeze through every level and boss in the game (it's basically like the Fierce Deity Mask in Majora's Mask, except that it can be used all the time), and possessing it is a requirement for reaching Terrorforce's final form. In order to make the Uber Conker costume set even appear in the shop, the player has to find six sets of blueprints scattered in ultra secret locations throughout the game, and there are very few in-game hints about any of these blueprint locations, making it somewhat of a "Guide Dang It". In a way, the game emulates the successful platforming/collecting segments of recent iTwin hits like Sonic Duo and Billy's Brave Oddysey. The game can be "beaten" by most players, but truly "Conkering" it will take a true pro with a lot of time on their hands. The ending, however, is quite rewarding, featuring Conker in his mech suit throwing a huge party with all his friends, accidentally destroying a lot of things, and frustrating the Library Fairy. The true final boss fight is also a fun one, essentially featuring a giant mech vs. an eldritch evil. It's the toughest boss fight in the game, even with the Uber Conker suit's power, but it's also a lot of fun.

    The Conkering Hero is given excellent reviews by most gaming publications, praising the game's production values and wide variety of challenges, while breathing new life into the "collectathon" platformer genre. It's also considered to be one of the funniest games in a long time, with Conker's voice acting and animations highly praised. It's Rare's second blockbuster of the seventh generation after Killer Instinct 4, and it's clear that a lot of effort went into the game, with the developers spending a lot of time trying to get the most they could out of the Sapphire and trying to put a new spin on a tired old style of game. The Conkering Hero is released in late September 2009, to major critical and commercial success. It's one of the year's most popular family titles, and it continues to sell well throughout the holiday season.

    -

    A funny thing happened between the release of Velvet Dark: Conspiracy in 2005 and the present day. First-person shooters absolutely took over the world. Tom Clancy's Delta Force, Call of Duty, Battlefield, these franchises have sold millions of copies and have turned the military-based shooter into arguably the most dominant genre in all of gaming.

    And through all the hype over FPS games that's taken place during the end of the last console generation and the beginning of this one, Martin Hollis' team has largely ignored what made those games so successful, staying true to what has made Velvet Dark such a trailblazing series, at a time when any FPS could be accused of "follow the leader".

    "This isn't Call Of Duty, and anyone who plays Dark Humanity expecting Call Of Duty is going to be extremely disappointed," said Hollis, as recorded footage from Rare's most recent gameplay build played on a loop on the television screen nearby. "Dark Humanity is a first person shooter game, but that's where the similarities begin and end. We're doing something that's never been done before, not just in an FPS, not just in the Velvet Dark series, but in any video game that's ever been made."

    Bold words, but Hollis and his team can back them up, and in just an hour with the game, we've gone from traversing a cyberspace landscape to inhabiting the body of a young man halfway across the world from the computer we first dove into, to using social engineering to make an opponent abandon his post without even firing a shot.

    And we've only played with Velvet. Hollis tells us that players can expect to start the game as Velvet and play with her for a significant amount of time, though he gave us no indication about just how significant that amount of time would be. He also says that the moment we start playing as Joanna will be, as he put it, "a moment players will remember for the rest of their gaming lives, and a moment that will define the rest of the game".

    Playing as Velvet is at times just like playing as Joanna and at times it couldn't be more different. As an AI program who both has her own flesh and blood body but who can also traverse cyberspace as a program at any time, it's a truly cerebral experience, and like nothing we've done in a Velvet Dark game before. Hunted down by pretty much every government on the planet after a massive AI crackdown in the wake of the events of Velvet Dark: Synthesis, it's like Blade Runner meets The Matrix, with the Agents as sympathetic beings on the run from a fearful humanity with reason to be afraid.

    "Velvet is a good person, that much is true," said Hollis. "But there are very, VERY evil AI programs, and Velvet will find herself doing very bad things in order to survive."

    The Velvet Dark series has always blurred the lines between reality and fiction, commentating on our technological prowess while at the same time working to humanize the intelligent robots that may one day share the world with us. In Dark Humanity, we will see both the goodness in humanity and it's deepest evil, while at times not knowing whether we've witnessed the heroism or villainy of an AI or a flesh and blood human.

    "While some games or shows or movies use the device that the viewer knows more than the characters, here we'd like to experiment with reversing that idea," Hollis told us. "We'd like to present situations where the characters know much more than the player, and which effect how the characters respond to what the player is doing."

    The missions that we got to play were mostly standard FPS fare, though with significantly less gunfire and combat than a contemporary military-based FPS. There was stealth, but surprisingly little of it, even compared to previous games in the series, and segments of "non FPS" gameplay, while significant, were also surprisingly short, putting us back into situations where we held a gun in our hands quite quickly. While Hollis told us that this was done intentionally to conceal spoilers from us, we couldn't help but marvel at the brevity of the game's out of combat segments. It's a game with lots of visual cues and animation detail, utilizing the capabilities of the Sapphire to its fullest. Even in the early build we got to play, the game's visuals looked spectacular, easily better than anything we've played on the Xbox 2, and outpacing just about everything else on the Sapphire, including games like Spirit Of The Woods and Thrillseekers 2. Dark Humanity is an HD game and looks incredible on a big flatscreen. Hollis even considered adding a 3-D mode to the game before deciding against it, believing that the technology "just wasn't there" yet to add a 3-D mode to the game.

    "Maybe next gen," said Hollis, implying that he already had another Velvet Dark title planned for the Sapphire's successor. "If this game does well, of course."

    -from the cover article of the October 2009 issue of GameInformer magazine
     
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  7. volvocrusher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2018
    I'm a bit pessimistic after the iPod Play 3.0 announcement. That seems to point out some turmoil between Steve Jobs and Reggie and the iTwin/iPod Play have worked because their understanding of the market complement each other so well. If this choice is made while they're out of sync, I'm betting all the games will either blur together or there be a big Sonic game every few years while the other years have decent to mediocre games that dillute the brand.

    Also in regards to this post, seeing Rare still be one of the top leaders of this industry is probably the most surreal part of TTL.
     
  8. ANARCHY_4_ALL Evolution and The Revolution

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Another random question of if this band exists ITTL from me. But ever since hearing the opening theme of the anime Parasyte-the maxim- by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas. I've been obsessed with them for a while as a fan of both death metal/deathcore and electronic music and fusion genres in general. Anyway the band formed in 2008 in OTL. Is there anyway the band also formed ITTL. And check out some more of their songs besides the one please. Crossover is a good one for metalheads and Jump Around is a good one for pop punk fans. If you don't like the excessive autotune try to remember it is intended to be another electronic instrument to compliment the synths but his use of it with screams in songs like the aforementioned Crossover made me love it if only they used it like that more often. Makes him sound like some kind of robotic demon alien.
     
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  9. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
  10. RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Hmmm... I think we could have that band form ITTL, though I don't think they'll be much bigger than IOTL, they're not the kind of band that the Japanese pop boom would really help.

    Sure thing, just send it our way.
     
  11. ANARCHY_4_ALL Evolution and The Revolution

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Awesome. Yeah I could see them possibly getting a little more popular in the mid-late 2010's as some of their music would likely be used for some ITTL anime openings. Maybe if we get something similar to Death Note in tone. Regardless hopefully some of you guys decided to check them out and enjoyed them or not just glad to spread some unique music.
     
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  12. Threadmarks: Summer 2009 (Part 15) - The Rest Of The Games

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    (Here are the rest of the notable North American game releases between April 2009 and June 2009!)
    -

    Nintendo Sapphire:

    Hitomimori

    Hitomimori is an anime-styled fighting game that features schoolgirl characters battling each other with fists and magic. This game is most notable for its fandom rather than its sales, which are mediocre even in Japan. The game is actually pretty fun, so reviews are marginally decent but it's the memorable characters that really stand out, along with the fanservice. While the game's Western sales are fairly low, the cost of localizing and producing the game was also low, so subsequent sequels and spinoffs do make it to the West as well. It's somewhat comparable to OTL's Skullgirls, though it's published by an actual Japanese game company instead of a Western indie company.

    Pintendo

    Pintendo is a Nintendo-developed pinball game with plenty of gameplay twists and online multiplayer. It doesn't feature any licensed Nintendo characters like earlier Kirby and Pokemon pinball titles, but instead features a fun cast of colorful, animated characters and strange cartoony creatures. There are 20 different boards in the game, each with their own fun little quirks and levels of difficulty, and each board also has its own story that gradually reveals itself as more scoring slots are activated. It's not intended as a huge hit IP (it wasn't featured in Nintendo's E3 keynote and was only a small fixture in Nintendo's booth) but has a very commercially successful run, selling well over a million copies over the next several years.

    Bishop

    Bishop is a sort of visual novel/action hybrid game relying heavily on dialogue and exploration but also features tense action sequences and a complex, mature plot. Its protagonist is a police officer named Brad Bishop who must solve a series of murders in his city, uncovering a major corruption and crime operation in the process. With smart writing and excellent voice acting (from a cast of almost complete unknowns, no less), it's one of the year's biggest unexpected hits. It's not huge from a commercial standpoint but is a major success critically, with review scores averaging around 9/10 and the game winning major accolades amongst critics. It becomes a cult hit, and though sales are poor early on, word of mouth helps the game to turn a healthy profit eventually.

    Devil May Cry 5

    The fifth game in the Devil May Cry series and the last to appear on a Nintendo system for a great while (and the only Sapphire exclusive title), Devil May Cry 5 is a sort of “send off” to the series on Nintendo, focusing heavily on action and not so much on plot. The plot itself involves Dante and Trish teaming up with three different women, each of whom has their own agenda and special abilities, in order to battle an ancient cult that's taken root in an unnamed metropolis. Despite the game's urban setting, it doesn't take place entirely amongst skyscrapers and on city streets: large portions of the game take place on the city outskirts, including inside ancient churches, abandoned towns, and a large forested area, amongst other unique locales. The three women turn out to be witches, though they're not entirely evil (though one of them turns out to be an antagonist later on, and Dante's choices throughout the game determine whether she lives or dies). One of them, named Parissa, is a fairly lighthearted witch with the power of fire and ice, and who isn't quite in complete control of her powers. Another witch, named Lynnette, is a bit of a tomboy, with the power to create physical objects, most notably weapons, and who flirts with Trish rather than with Dante. The final witch, named Nora, is the “antagonist” one, and has power over both light and darkness. She's melancholy and cold, but she has deep motivations for turning to the side of evil, and isn't truly evil hearted. Nora seeks to partner with the cult to bring her mother back to life, something that Dante can understand all too well. The cult's leader is a power-hungry man named Maestro, and he is using Nora so that her power can open up a portal to hell and summon forth Satan so that Maestro can slaughter him and become the new lord of hell, gaining ultimate power. In the end, Dante is forced to battle Maestro and Satan to save the world from hell's armies. Depending on Dante's choices, Nora will either sacrifice herself to beat back Satan or be saved by Dante at the last moment. In the end, Dante saves the world yet again, and while he's glad that his ordeal is over, he's a bit pissed off about not getting a big payday since he had to defeat the literal devil. Devil May Cry 5 is highly praised for its graphics and combat gameplay, and is one of the better received games in the series, a great way to end its run on Nintendo systems, with the next game planned as an Apple exclusive. Fans would compare it endlessly to Bayonetta over the coming months and years, and the two games would make 2009 the year of the hack and slasher in a lot of players' eyes.

    Giant's Stride

    Giant's Stride is an action/combat game in which giant creatures battle it out amidst huge cities. The player starts out controlling a fairly small and basic creature (still a giant, but small compared to some of the others) and must work their way up to battling and controlling larger creatures. The scale of the creatures makes this game a bit of a technical marvel (with lots of destructible scenery), but the combat is fairly repetitive and the game is a disappointment.

    King's Grave

    King's Grave is an action-RPG developed by From Software, intended as a successor to the King's Field series. In that way, it's sort of TTL's equivalent of Demon's Souls, but has a more insular quality to it, featuring no online gameplay mechanics and taking place primarily within dungeon interiors rather than outside environments. That said, the game does have a lot in common with OTL's Demon Souls, with faster action-based gameplay and modern graphics and sound. The plot involves a knight who sets out to purify the kingdom after the king is murdered by demonic forces. He must prevent an ancient eldritch evil from usurping the king and stealing the souls of his subjects, and must battle his way through a horde of fearsome creatures and demons to do so. The game is seen as an excellent revival of the King's Field series, but sales are a bit worse than OTL's Demon's Souls. Regardless, the game is considered successful enough to get a sequel or successor...

    Spellbound 2

    The sequel to 2004's hit Sony RTS Spellbound: The Sorcery War, Spellbound 2 features similar gameplay but vastly improved graphics, with armies of mages, wizards, and witches clashing on the battlefield once more. Spellbound 2 gives the player more options to train individual officers, even sending them on mini-quests to gain experience and learn new spells before returning them to the main battlefield for missions. This has been a highly requested sequel by fans of the original game, and reviews and sales are both good, making it one of the top console RTS games of its generation.

    Shotgun Servant

    Shotgun Servant is a third person shooter about a hardcore soldier who uses a shotgun to kill his enemies. This game has a very gritty aesthetic and a simplistic story but is fairly easy to pick up, with players not needing to develop good aim to do a lot of damage. The game has a multiplayer mode, but it's a rather basic one. It's decently popular, but not a massive success.

    Apple iTwin:

    Deadly Creatures

    Similar to OTL's Wii title, Deadly Creatures allows the player to control a tarantula or scorpion as they navigate a world full of dangerous animals and battle them. Players can use both the motion controls or traditional controls, and uniquely to TTL's title, the game features both competitive and co-op multiplayer in which two players can explore and battle at once, with one controlling the tarantula and the other the scorpion. The game gets a fairly positive critical reception, with the multiplayer functionality helping it to achieve more sales than IOTL. It's still just a cult hit, but a decently performing one.

    Rocket Cheer!

    Rocket Cheer! is an action game about a squad of cheerleaders who have jet suits and fire rockets at bad guys. You play as Ellie, the captain of the cheerleading squad, who's blonde, beautiful, and has an affinity for explosives, and you have to battle an army of evil terrorists trying to take over the city. This game is basically a combination of the film Bring It On and the character Pharah from Overwatch, with a little bit of Lollipop Chainsaw mixed in (though the game's rating is strictly T). Highly campy, this game is a commercial bust but it has a small and devoted fanbase, and gets plenty of play on Youtube game commentator videos.

    Mary, Quite Contrary

    Mary, Quite Contrary is an anime JRPG about a schoolgirl in a modern Victorian-esque setting. Mary, the protagonist, is a shy, quiet girl who only wants to get through her schooling so she can inherit her family's riches and bring honor back to her family name, but when she runs afoul of a cruel class president, she's forced into a journey where she must battle an ancient evil and save the world. The game features tons of fanservice, a beautiful musical score, and very elaborate outfits. Review scores are actually quite favorable. The game features a traditional turn based combat system but has enough gameplay twists to keep things interesting, and the anime cutscenes and voice dubbing are very well does. This is one of those games that's big in Japan but only a cult hit in the States, but does just well enough for the sequels to be localized.

    Power 2

    This sequel to the 2007 iTwin sleeper hit sees electrician protagonist Thomas Watt return to light up more places and solve more electrical puzzles. This time, Watt is traveling away from Lumina and restoring electricity to three kingdoms that have each lost their power through various means. The overall gameplay is mostly the same as the original, but with some new twists thrown in, including the introduction of a new character, a female electrician named Violet Volt who is a sort of “rival” to Watt in that she is competing for contracts and using new technology to run Watt out of business. She's a friendly rival, but she's still a rival and Watt finds that she's beaten him to the punch on a lot of his jobs, forcing the player to pick and choose carefully what jobs to take, lest Violet steal everything out from under them. Power 2 also features “boss” fights, which are more like action/puzzle battles in which Watt must come up with a solution to neutralize the boss enemy and restore power before his health is deleted. The game has three main antagonist, with each kingdom Watt restores power to having its own enemy to stop as he works to restore power. In the first two kingdoms, which are both fairly short in length, Watt and Violet oppose one another, but in the final kingdom, which is a bit longer than the first two put together, the two must eventually join forces, combining their electrical skills to defeat a powerful new enemy who's redirecting power into a powerful superweapon. The game continues to present its dialogue as text on a screen, with no voice acting to speak of save for the game's narration (similar to the original game). The graphics are a bit more polished and the animation's a bit better, but there's not too much different from the original game. Still, Power 2 scores great reviews, and it does provide considerably more of what made the last game such a hit, so it performs well in sales also, with much better initial sales than the previous game. It's one of the top releases of August, but in a crowded month it fails to crack the overall top 5. Still, its sales eventually exceed those of the original, and the series remains one of Apple's stronger exclusives.

    The Containers 3

    Capcom goes all out for this game, the first in the series for an Apple console and one of the premier Apple exclusives that Capcom brings to the iTwin. Carter and Julie, supernatural detectives extraordinaire, return, and are joined by several brand new characters, each with their own skills and their own motivations. The name of the game largely remains the same: supernatural forces are causing power spikes of mysterious origin throughout the world, and the Containers' job is to “contain” this power within special contraptions hooked up to their bodies, which they then use to fight back against the evil forces. The Containers 3 is a full-fledged party game, allowing four people at once to team up and fight enemies in massive, colorful environments. There are more powers and more enemy types as well, everything is generally expanded and improved upon from the previous game. However, the chaotic gameplay does weaken the overall plot somewhat: the plot involves a powerful human who has turned into a monster from absorbing thousands of these sources of power, and the human turns out to be a former Container himself, though his motivations are fairly cliched and kind of silly. The main attraction is the fast-paced action gameplay, and it's a lot more fun in multiplayer mode. Reviews average in the 7s, and while it's considered a very fun game, it doesn't do quite the business for the iTwin that Apple expects it to. It's definitely still a success, but Apple and Capcom look to refine the formula for the series' next game, which is already planned for the iTwin.

    Microsoft Xbox 2:

    Forza Motorsport 3

    The third game in the Forza Motorsport series finds itself competing pretty fiercely with Gran Turismo 4, which launched only a few months before. This leads Microsoft to put a lot of emphasis on having a wide variety of cars, with over 800 in the game, nearly twice as many as in Forza 2. The graphics are somewhat improved as well, and the game has a slightly increased focus on difficulty and realism to further compete with Nintendo and Sony's hit racing game. This leads to some reviewers considering Forza 3 a bit too much like GT4, becoming almost a clone in an effort to compete. Other reviewers enjoy the game and its increased realism and improved graphics, and overall reviews and sales are quite strong, continuing the series' success in a major way.

    Miami Vice

    Miami Vice is an open world action game in which the player steps into the world of 1980s Miami, controlling either Crockett or Tubbs as they work to bust a vicious gang of cocaine dealers and weapon smugglers. The game has a lot of gameplay similarities with the Wheelman series, not taking as many cues from Grand Theft Auto but instead going with a more realistic look and feel. Phillip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson return to play their roles from the original series, and the game really attempts to capture the feel of the show, with 80s songs littered throughout (including many that originally played in the series itself) and even a similar visual style. While Michael Mann didn't serve a major role in writing or directing the game, the game's producers did consult with him on numerous occasions, and he did get a producer credit. The game's plot involves a brutal drug lord named Pedro Dominguez, who has taken over the crime business in Miami with a combination of incredible street smarts and horrific violence. Crockett and Tubbs are tasked with infiltrating Dominguez's organization, while working to bring him down via any means necessary. In typical Miami Vice fashion, the game has a dark, bittersweet tone to it, with no real happy endings for anyone. Crockett becomes very close with Dominguez's daughter Mia, who falls in love with him, but Crockett doesn't reciprocate (the girl is just 19, young enough to be his daughter), and instead takes on a protective role with her, only for her to die tragically toward the end of the game. Tubbs, meanwhile, also falls in love with a woman who is killed about midway through the game, causing him to go rogue for a time. In the end, the cops foil and kill Dominguez, but they've left a trail of violence in their wake, and a lot of good people have died in terrible ways. Miami Vice is generally well reviewed, but even though it's an open world game, it doesn't have quite the replay value or freedom offered by Grand Theft Auto. Its sales are good initially, but soon trail off, and the game can be found for $20 most places by the end of the year.

    Azurik 2

    A surprising sequel that only a few hardcore fans asked for, Azurik 2 launches fairly quietly on the Xbox 2 in late summer 2009. It continues the story from the previous game, with protagonist Azurik returning with new powers to battle new enemies. Thanks to strong reviews (in the low to mid 8s), it actually manages to score more sales than the first game, and earns the first game some digital sales in the process.

    Game Boy Supernova:

    Polymorph 2

    This sequel to the Supernova's successful launch game sees Morpho returning in a variety of new forms and exploring new worlds. Unlike the previous game, which was somewhat short and more of a tech demo than anything, Polymorph 2 features a vast world to explore, one big seamless world rather than a hub world surrounded by doors and portals. The game still features a wide variety of different genres of gameplay, with Morpho able to transform into animals, humans, and various objects of different shapes and sizes. The game features action gameplay, RPG gameplay, puzzle gameplay, and even delves into genres such as sports and racing. The game has more of a unified, 3-D graphics style this time around, which leads to some criticism for a lack of graphical variety, though many critics think this is one of the Supernova's better looking games. Overall review scores are strong, nearly identical to those of the first game, and it sees fairly good sales, becoming one of the summer's top Supernova hits.

    Tessera

    Developed by Game Arts and localized by Working Designs, this is the first collaboration between the two companies in nearly a decade, and is a sprawling, turn-based RPG featuring gorgeous 3-D graphics and an exciting battle system that blends elements of strategy and action games with traditional turn-based combat. The game itself takes place in the near future, when human beings are just learning to unlock the mysteries of the stars. The main character is Douglas, a scientist working for the legendary Dr. Radiant, who has invented a way to create a portal through space and time. Douglas works with Gennifer, a student who primarily works as a biochemist, but who dabbles in space-time research. One day, an experiment goes wrong, and Douglas is transported through space and time to a future where the world is in ruins and there's near constant warfare, but where technology has advanced far beyond anything in his time. Douglas must find his way home while learning how the future could have gotten so terrible. He returns home fairly quickly, bringing a couple of future soldiers with him on accident. However, Douglas returns to a present that's in many ways different from his own. The game has some definite similarities to Chrono Trigger, but distinguishes itself through the use of a timeline and parallel universes somewhat reminiscent of OTL's Final Fantasy XIII-2. There are six playable characters in all, who battle in parties of four, and the game's battle system relies heavily on positioning and timing. Characters can auto-attack for a normal amount of damage, or the player can choose to reposition characters or roll the dice on a timed attack that can fail. Players can even send multiple party members into motion at once, though this is risky because it leaves characters defenseless while they're moving. The game has no overworld to speak of, with much of the game consisting of traversal through dungeons and between landmarks and cities. Despite the multiple timelines and eras, the game is fairly non-linear, with some opportunities for side-quests but a clearly defined storyline order and no multiple endings. The game's graphics are among the best for a JRPG on the Supernova, surpassing those of Elvenfall and easily on par with most late-era Wave titles. The game features both in-game and anime cutscenes, with voice acting both in cutscenes and outside of them. Working Designs uses a team of San Francisco-based actors to dub the game, so there aren't really any notable names, though a few longtime company voiceover veterans do have minor roles. Tessera performed quite well in Japan both critically and commercially, but Western critics were a bit harsher with the game, scoring slightly below Second Horizon, but still scoring well. Sales are fairly good for a non-Squaresoft handheld RPG, and the game acquires a very loyal fandom following.

    The Lost Vikings

    Blizzard brings back The Lost Vikings for the Supernova in somewhat of a retro/modern re-imagining, with similar gameplay to the original but dozens of new puzzle rooms for players to make their way through. The game features full voice acting for each of the Vikings, and plenty of exciting new enemies and challenges as Erik, Baleog, and Olaf must make their way back home. It has some similarities with 2003's The Lost Vikings 3, but introduces a few new mechanics and wrinkles to make things more interesting and the combat more fun. This game gets strong reviews, though not quite on the level of the previous game. It does do better sales than the previous game, thanks to a strong hype campaign by Nintendo.

    Flora And Fauna

    A Rare developed simulation/platforming game with similarities to OTL's Viva Pinata, Flora And Fauna is a game about two garden fairy sisters who try to one-up each other by cultivating different life forms. The player is a sort of intermediary between them who must try to keep the sisters happy by maintaining their gardens and journeying to new areas, and the game has Animal Crossing elements in that it plays itself while the game is off. The game was developed by a new team of young Rare employees who weren't working on The Conkering Hero, and the game has plenty of humor and a fair bit of challenge as well. It's highly critically regarded and becomes one of the year's best Supernova titles, though sales are only mediocre.

    WarioWare: D.I.Y.

    Similarly to OTL's game, WarioWare D.I.Y. allows players to create their own microgames with a variety of tools. The game has better graphics and more creation tools than OTL's title, but the lack of a touchscreen makes things run a bit more slowly. Like OTL's title, the game has its own already created microgames (84 in all) and the ability to send and receive creations from other players online. Reviews are quite good, but sales are a bit lower than those of previous WarioWare games.

    Knights In The Nightmare

    Just as IOTL, this is a strategy-based RPG in which players carefully position their soldiers (all of whom are already dead) to do battle with other undead armies. This game features full voice acting and significantly better graphics than IOTL, with larger battlefields and vivid animations. It's one of the better looking strategy RPGs on the Supernova, and scores well with reviewers, though it's only a cult hit commercially.

    Apple iPod Play:

    Carbon

    Carbon is a futuristic racing title in which high tech supercars race in real world cities. It's definitely more arcade-style than the Supernova's Gran Turismo port, with some of the fastest racing of any racing game on handheld or on console. One of the iPod Play's more beautiful looking games, this game also features touch controls for the iPhone version, though it controls quite well with default controls also. It's definitely one of the most popular racing games ever released for the iPod Play, becoming one of the system's top sellers of the year.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Psychic Angels

    A sidegame in the Shin Megami Tensei series, Psychic Angels was released in Japan in 2007, and would take two years to gain a Western release, due to its controversial storyline and some strange themes and imagery. The game plays much like one would expect an SMT title to play: its protagonist is a schoolgirl named Himora who is having strange visions of people dying and demons invading. One day after school, mysterious agents attempt to abduct Himora, but she is saved by the arrival of a mysterious young man, who tells Himora that she has special powers and that there are others like her, but they've all been captured by a governmental organization. These beings, known as angels, are used to bait demons to Earth so that they can be killed by special assassins employed by the government, and Himora is tasked with finding the others like her who haven't been captured and freeing the ones who have. Himora and the other angels can form links with captured demons to use their powers and develop powers of their own, but the assassins have their own demonic partners, and are led by a rogue archangel who seeks to get revenge against Lucifer himself. The game features intense imagery and tough combat, and doesn't have any voice acting, though its anime graphics are quite gorgeous on the iPod Play. The game is well reviewed and actually gets slightly better sales than expected, though expected sales were extremely low to begin with.

    Multiplatform:

    Dragon Quest IX: Inheritors Of The Forgotten Legend

    Dragon Quest IX is a traditional-style RPG released on the Sapphire and iTwin. The game plays much like previous Dragon Quest games, most notably Dragon Quest VIII. Unlike OTL's Dragon Quest IX, which appeared on the Nintendo DS, TTL's game is the most graphically advanced game in the series to date, with full HD anime-styled cel shaded graphics, and a vast, beautiful world to explore. The game centers around a party of four heroes, each descended from an ancient hero of legend that fought against a powerful evil a thousand years before. Though the main character is a young swordsman (whom the player names), the other three characters are each equally important to the game's story, each receiving their own character arcs as they journey with the hero to defeat the resurrected evil. The game introduces the concept of Legacy Powers, which activate on each character as they learn more about their ancestor. These powers are both earned through the main story and through various side quests, giving players the option of going off the beaten path to enhance their characters further. They include both stat increases and special attacks, with some of the stat increases allowing a character to play a role that they might not normally play, such as a massive Attack boost for a mage character, or a massive HP boost for a fragile character. The game begins with the main hero simply going on a quest to retrieve medicine from a cave, but finding an ancient sword that leads him on a world-spanning journey. He meets a beautiful princess named Ashline, a sneaky rogue named Jord, and a barbarian woman named Gwen. While the Hero himself is descended from a similar hero, Ashline is descended from a pirate queen, Jord is descended from a ninja woman, and Gwen is descended from a dragonslayer. The initial enemy is a sorceress who is simply attempting to rule the world, but after she's defeated about two thirds of the way through the game, it's revealed that she's inadvertently summoned forth the ancient evil that was once defeated by the four legendary heroes, and now the new heroes must step up to defeat it. The game is fairly typical for a Dragon Quest title, but the Legacy Powers allow for some specialization and also give the player an incentive to embark on the game's large number of optional quests. It gets generally better reviews than Dragon Quest IX, and sales are outstanding in Japan, becoming the fastest selling iTwin game ever there and doing great on the Sapphire there too. It doesn't do nearly as good in the States, but does get decent Sapphire sales, and is generally considered a success for Enix ahead of the release of Full Metal Alchemist 2 later in the year.

    Fuel

    An open world racing title much like OTL's game, Fuel takes place across a post-apocalyptic landscape, and features a massive world for players to explore, with a huge variety of landscapes and lots of challenging races to compete in. Released on the Xbox 2 and the Sapphire, the game looks beautiful on both consoles, and has some of the best draw distances of any console game to date. The game gets better reviews than it did IOTL, averaging in the mid to high 7s for its large amount of content and excellent graphics. The game becomes a minor hit and is quickly greenlighted for a sequel.

    G.I. Joe

    One of the summer's more highly anticipated games, G.I. Joe is released for the Sapphire, iTwin, and Xbox 2, and features a grittier, more realistic take on the franchise, similar to the OTL films. Players control one of three characters depending on the mission: Duke, Snake Eyes, or Scarlett, and the game plays as a third person shooter, taking place in a variety of locations including jungles, deserts, and cities. The game sees the player battling Cobra Commander and his army, and Cobra Commander is much more serious in this game, taking the form of a masked terrorist warlord with genuinely realistic motivations. Baroness and Destro also appear, both of them with tragic backstories. The game sees Cobra attempting to launch coups all around the world in order to install its government everywhere, and the organization has even begun training child soldiers. One of these child soldiers, a girl named Alexandra, is especially gifted, and Baroness takes a liking to her, adopting her as a daughter. However, Alexandra also takes a liking to Scarlett, and this becomes a point of conflict between the two soldiers as Scarlett tries to save Alexandra from becoming a Cobra soldier while Baroness doesn't want the girl to suffer the same heartbreaks that she did (losing her entire family to the so-called “imperialists”). Meanwhile, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow have their relationship explored throughout the game, with a deep personal grudge harbored between the two of them. Duke's backstory is somewhat more generic, but he's still portrayed as a generally likable and badass protagonist. The game features excellent graphics and voice acting from a variety of talents (including Grey Delisle as both Scarlett and Baroness, Troy Baker as Duke, and Steve Blum as Cobra Commander), and though review scores are lowered a bit by the fairly generic third person shooter gameplay, it's still considered by far the best G.I. Joe game ever made, with strong sales on all three main consoles.

    Paradigm Shift 2
    (Authors' Note: This is a sequel to a game idea given to us by the reader Goldwind2!)

    Paradigm Shift 2 is a third person action/shooter title, the sequel to the 2005 Xbox hit Paradigm Shift. This game is not only for the Xbox 2 but for the Sapphire as well, and while it was developed by the same studio, John Romero had no involvement in this sequel, as he was instead working on Quake 5. Despite this, the game has a similar humorous tone to the original, with Roman Hackett returning as the primary protagonist, along with his friends Alice Stanley, Steven Walters, and QL95. The scientists have a universal transporter that can teleport them between parallel dimensions, much like the previous game, and the group is in search of a powerful artifact that Roman inadvertantly misplaced. The artifact is being hunted by people from all over the multiverse, giving the game a sort of “It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” type of feel, though the primary antagonist is the cosmic warlord Krullgraven, a mustached, tattooed badass who drives around the multiverse on a tricked out motorcycle. The game not only has spectacular combat sequences on land, but in space as well, with Roman and his allies acquiring powered spacesuits to float through the vacuum of space. The game has slightly less content than its predecessor, but significantly improved graphics, and notable gameplay improvements as well. While it's not quite the sales hit that Paradigm Shift was, it does quite well with critics and is considered a financial success.

    True Crime: London

    An open-world crime game and the first of the series to appear on an HD console, True Crime: London continues the series in a new city with a new protagonist, while keeping much of the same gameplay elements and tropes of previous titles. It marks the series' triumphant return after four years away, and gave developers a lot of time to craft the game for the HD generation. It's generally more subdued and realistic than Grand Theft Auto II, and goes a long way to discourage the player from committing random massacres, presenting a sympathetic protagonist from the London working class who's just trying to help his sick mother by committing various crimes throughout the city. He gets caught up in a massive war between corrupt cops and brutal gangs, and most of his actions are motivated by mere survival as things get intensely personal. The game has some of the best driving gameplay of any open world title, which is quite useful as the game features plenty of driving missions. However, the hand to hand combat is somewhat lacking, especially compared to recent titles such as Dasho. The gunplay is also a bit boring, making firefights that go on too long seem like a bit of a chore. In general, the game is well received for its excellent graphics and play controls, though reviews lag behind Grand Theft Auto II somewhat, as it's just not as purely fun as that game. Sales are moderate, the series having lost a lot of its profile in the days since the sixth generation, and it's considered a bit of a disappointment after its release for the Sapphire, Xbox 2, and iTwin.

    Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood

    The sequel to 2007's game and similar to OTL's game of the same name, Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood is a Western FPS published by Ubisoft for the Sapphire, iTwin, and Xbox 2. Its plot differs somewhat from the OTL game. It still focuses on two estranged brothers and a betrayal, but takes place in the 1880s, later than OTL's game, and occurs because of a dispute over a train robbery gone wrong, in which the betrothed of one of the brothers was accidentally killed by the other. The game re-tells their relationship as the leaders of one of the West's deadliest gangs and chronicles their various robberies and misdeeds, of how the brothers romanced the same woman and how she fell for one of them, with the other reluctantly accepting it, only for the fateful heist to occur a short time later. The last fourth of the game allows the player to choose one of the brothers to control as their feud is settled, either in blood or with forgiveness depending on the player's actions. Call of Juarez 2 gets a surprisingly strong reception on the Apple iTwin, thanks to its motion controls, and ultimately sells best on that console despite the superior graphics of the other two versions. The game is seen as a mild critical and commercial success, but does get lost in the shuffle of a crowded summer.

    Dirty Doggs 3

    The popular open world series featuring a pair of motorcycle riding country bumpkin brothers has its third installment released in the summer of 2009, for all three major consoles. Granted a lot of hype after the success of the first two titles, it continues the story from the previous games (which isn't a very deep and engrossing story to begin with), and sees the brothers relocating to a sleepy town in Louisiana, committing crimes and causing mayhem with lots of Cajun flavor. The game doesn't take itself seriously at all, and features plenty of cameos from popular country and Southern-themed stars, leaning fully into its fanbase with plenty of offroad racing and hunting missions. While the (slightly rushed) game ultimately scores only mediocre reviews, high 6s/low 7s, those don't do much to affect the sales, which are only slightly worse than Dirty Doggs 2 and ensure that the series will continue.

    Dr. Apple And The What If Squad

    Created for the iTwin and iPod Play, this game is about a scientist who mixes various chemicals and uses them on enemies. There are a bunch of different chemicals that can be mixed together, and the game is all about trial and experimentation. It's not a huge success but its name and gameplay do get it some attention.

    Pulse

    A musical game with elements of OTL's Child Of Eden, this game takes popular songs and places them inside a dimensional dreamscape where the player's movements piece them back together. A version of this game is made for all three consoles and it plays differently on each one. The iTwin motion control version is the most popular, while the Sapphire version performs moderately well and the Xbox 2 version flops. Far more popular than any OTL game of its type, selling over a million copies on the iTwin alone.

    Skate 2

    The sequel to EA's 2007 title which featured more realistic but more difficult skateboarding, Skate 2 is released for the three major consoles in the shadow of Thrillseekers 2, featuring improved physics, a better musical soundtrack, and a newbie-friendly interactive training mode. Despite its massive competition, it manages to carve out a niche amongst hardcore fans, and since EA didn't spend nearly as much on the game as Activision spent on Thrillseekers 2, it's considered a minor financial success, albeit not nearly to the same degree. This leads EA to keep the series alive, though the company also pushes forward on its more Thrillseekers-like extreme sports game for 2010.

    The Lord Of The Rings: Conquest

    The Lord Of The Rings: Conquest is an RTS set in the world of The Lord Of The Rings, similar to the earlier iPod Play game War Of The Ring. Unlike that game, which tells an original story, Conquest retraces the events of the original books and film trilogy, allowing players to relive battles from that trilogy such as Helm's Deep and Pellenor Fields. Despite its vastly superior graphics and despite telling a more familiar story, Conquest is a critical disappointment. Its battles are seen as being quite repetitive, and its voice acting, which features mostly stand-ins and not the original film cast, is seen as subpar. While War Of The Ring was one of the most surprising handheld games of the year, Conquest is one of the biggest disappointments, both critically and commercially.

    Zulie!

    An action/platforming game for the Sapphire and iTwin, Zulie! is another spinoff of the acclaimed Albert And Zulie series, making the little girl the primary protagonist for the first time after her big friend, the strange creature Albert, goes missing. Zulie must gather up her other friends, which include both young kids and strange animals, and build weapons and devices out of scrap in order to battle her enemies and find Albert, with gameplay very reminiscent of OTL's Ratchet And Clank titles. Unlike Zulie's Zoo, in which the girl had somewhat regressed to her original bratty and demanding personality, this game sees Zulie's character development return. She's still somewhat bratty and snarky, but also kind and understanding, having matured since the events of the previous game. This platformer is more silly than serious and is compared by many to The Conkering Hero, though it doesn't have any collectible elements (at least mandatory ones) and instead focuses on combat and exploration. It's reviewed extremely well, and sales are quite good, especially on the iTwin.

    Dante's Inferno

    This game is very close to OTL's hack and slash which retells the events of the classic novel Dante's Inferno, with the warrior poet Dante descending violently into Hell to save his true love Beatrice. While discarding accuracy to the book in favor of badass combat action, it's still a solid game, much like OTL's. It actually somewhat cuts down on some of the more graphic and controversial elements of OTL's game, achieving a soft-M rating rather than the hard-M of OTL, due to less influence from titles like God Of War, which doesn't exist ITTL. The game also has more puzzles and more dialogue, and overall is a bit “smarter” of a game, though review scores and sales are pretty much identical to OTL's title. It comes out on all three main consoles.

    Hell Ship 2

    The sequel to OTL's 2007 minor hit FPS for the Xbox 2 sees release on both that system and the Sapphire this time around, and continues the last game's horror aesthetic, with similar gameplay and visuals. This title sees the protagonist return to the moon where the ship from the last game crashlanded, the moon is now an infected demonic hellscape and the demons must be purged by any means necessary. About halfway through the game, it's discovered that another ship already crashlanded there under similar circumstances, and the protagonist meets the members of that crew, all but one have been infected by the demonic evil and become dangerous enemies. Hell Ship 2 is one of September's more popular games, with strong reviews and decent sales on par with some of the more popular games of that month and nearly selling as many games in its launch month as Stranded 2.

    Invisible Espionage

    A stealth spy game with less of an emphasis on guns and more on gadgetry, this game stars three beautiful female spies and has somewhat of a Totally Spies aesthetic (though it's played a bit more seriously, which also draws comparisons to Charlie's Angels) and gets good marks with critics, along with attracting a lot of female players.

    Savior Of Ammut-Ra

    This adventure title returns for an HD sequel, featuring the priest from the previous game as the returning protagonist in this title that sees him battling against a demonic snake goddess who threatens to turn all of Ammut-Ra into dust. The priest is joined in his fight by a new female companion named Kannara, a former slave who defied her nobleman master to become an adventurer. He's also joined by Septet, a powerful guardian of Anubis who uses his brute strength to battle enemies and help the priest solve puzzles. This game features challenging dungeons and spectacular boss fights, and is a generally better game than the original, earning plenty of accolades from critics. It's released on all three consoles and becomes a dark horse Game of the Year candidate, though it only manages to achieve mediocre sales, cracking a million but not on any one individual console.

    Stalin vs. Martians

    IOTL, this RTS game was a horrifically awful PC exclusive, but ITTL it also gets ported to consoles, namely the Xbox 2 and the Sapphire, by a publisher that actually puts a bit more money and effort into the game. Its graphics are significantly improved from OTL's title, making it actually look like a proper seventh gen title. It still gets mostly mediocre reviews due to being a fairly garden variety RTS, but it's no longer the completely awful joke it was IOTL (though the main premise of the game is still laughable).

    The Shrike

    Based on the Hyperion Cantos series of novels, this game, released on the Sapphire and iTwin, is an episodic digital title that tells the stories of four different protagonists, including a space soldier (NOT a space marine), a scientist, a mercenary, and a young woman residing on a generational ship, as they each must fulfill their own journeys in the 29th century, all of them forced to deal in one way or another with the dreaded, cosmically powerful being known as the Shrike. The gameplay ranges from straight-up shooter to David Cage-style novel game. The Shrike isn't directly engaged in combat (at least until the fourth chapter of the game) but does make infrequent appearances as an enemy that must be escaped from or a force that kills other enemies or allies of the player character. The game is a fairly loose adaptation of the novels, choosing to tell its own story for the most part, and is released in four parts over the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010, selling for $9.99 per chapter or $29.99 collected together. It's one of the more popular, if a bit difficult to understand, digital titles of the year, though mainstream gamers largely eschew it in terms of more accessible fare.

    -

    Top Selling New Console Games In North America (in terms of sales over the first four weeks of release):

    July 2009:

    1. Thrillseekers 2 (Nintendo Sapphire)
    2. Thrillseekers 2 (Apple iTwin)
    3. Forza Motorsport 3 (Microsoft Xbox 2)
    4. Thrillseekers 2 (Microsoft Xbox 2)
    5. Afraid Of The Dark (Nintendo Sapphire)

    August 2009:

    1. Madden NFL 2010 (Nintendo Sapphire)
    2. Madden NFL 2010 (Microsoft Xbox 2)
    3. Super Mario World 4 (Game Boy Supernova)
    4. Sonic: Elemental Friends (Apple iTwin)
    5. Cyberwar: Netizen X (Microsoft Xbox 2)

    September 2009:

    1. The Conkering Hero (Nintendo Sapphire)
    2. Stranded 2 (Nintendo Sapphire)
    3. Uprising (Microsoft Xbox 2)
    4. Squad Four Declassified (Game Boy Supernova)
    5. Stranded 2 (Microsoft Xbox 2)
     
  13. volvocrusher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2018
    I can't wait to see what the successor to King's Grave is called so every challenging game will forever get compared to that.
     
  14. Garfunkle62 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    I was wondering, does WarioWare's cast of characters have any differences ITTL compared to IOTL? It'd be interesting to see if some of the series's characters are either changed or debut earlier/later than IOTL, or if completely new characters exclusive to TTL are introduced.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 3:00 PM
  15. Andrew Boyd I wisely keep my political views silent.

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
  16. TheFaultsofAlts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    I have a question. Between P2S and this timeline, is Q*Bert more, less, or as popular as IOTL?
     
    Spectrum27 and Beta.003 like this.
  17. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Just been reading about Surviving R. Kelly and I wondered: what happens to him ITTL? Assuming that child-porn tape is still revealed ITTL, Selena would probably be among the first to denounce him, IMO...
     
    AeroTheZealousOne likes this.
  18. Threadmarks: Fall 2009 (Part 1) - Assassin's Creed II

    rick007 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    Hamiltonia
    Assassin's Creed II

    Background:

    Production of Assassin's Creed II started pretty much when Assassin's Creed I ended. There may have been some overlap but they essentially started the second game in the series after the first one. Instead of continuing with Altair and the Holy Land in the main section of the game, the developers decided to move the action to Renaissance Italy, specifically the late 15th Century, with a new protagonist Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

    Responding to what fans and critics said about the original game, the developers created new missions that cut down on the repetition, and maximized fun, while at the same time not sacrificing the game play of the original.

    Cast/Characters:

    Roger Craig Smith as Ezio Auditore da Firenze

    Scarlett Johansson as Elise Stillman

    Nolan North as Desmond Miles

    Fred Tatasciore as Mario Auditore

    Carlos Ferro as Leonardo da Vinci

    Manuel Tadros as Rodrigo Borgia

    Romano Orzari as Giovanni Auditore da Firenze

    Ellen David as Maria Auditore da Firenze

    Claudia Ferri as Paola

    Angela Galuppo as Claudia Auditore da Firenze

    Connor Nikides Kokolakis as Petruccio Auditore da Firenze

    Elias Toufexis as Federico Auditore da Firenze

    Carlo Mestroni as Antonio de Magianis

    Lita Tresierra as Rosa

    Michel Perron as Uberto Albert

    Roc LaFortune as Carlo Grimaldi

    Alex Ivanocivi as Lorenzo de' Medici aka Il Magnifico and Bartolomeo d'Alviano

    Arthur Grosser as Jacopo de' Pazzi

    Arthur Holden as Emilio Barbarigo

    Danny Wallace as Shawn Hastings

    Jessica Alba as Anita Crane

    Cam Clarke as Clay Kaczmarek aka Subject 16

    Harry Standjofski as Silvio Barbarigo aka Il Rosso

    Tony Robinow as Marco Barbarigo

    Tony Calabretta as Dante Moro

    Vito DeFillipo as La Volpe

    Yuri Lowenthal as Vieri de' Pazzi

    Andreas Apergis as Francesco de' Pazzi and Checco Orsi

    Gianpaolo Venuta as Ludovico Orsi

    Margaret Easley as Minerva

    Nadia Verruci as Teodora Contanto

    Anne-Marie Baron as Annetta

    Cristina Rosato as Catarina Sforza

    Shawn Baichoo as Niccolo Machiavelli and Antonio Mafei

    Amber Mullin as Cristina Vespucci

    Phil Proctor as Warren Vidic

    Plot:

    After a recap of the last game, this one picks up where the last one left off, with Desmond in his room look at the strange symbols on his wall in Eagle Vision. Eventually he comes out of it, just in time for Elise to come in with blood on her clothes. After a brief trip into Abstergo's animus, to get information on a new ancestor, they leave. After fighting their way out, with Elise showing some impressive moves of her own, they get to a car and escape to an Assassin hideout.

    Once there, we are introduced to Shawn Hastings (the Assassin's historian and database writer) and Anita Crane (the Assassin's technician for this cell). After getting to know these characters better (there are sections where players can step outside of the Animus for a little while), time to step back into the Animus.

    We now step into Ezio's life in Florence in 1476. The first section of the game gives us Ezio's family life before everything goes wrong when his father and brothers are accused of treason and executed in Florence's town square. This begins his quest for revenge. After killing the man who carried out the execution, Uberto Alberti, Ezio flees Florence with his mother and sister. Once outside the city of Monteriggioni, they are attacked by Vieri de' Pazzi, a rival of Ezio's from Florence and a Templar. However, they are saved by Uncle Mario (which also serves as a fun little reference to one of Nintendo's most famous franchises).

    After some training with his uncle, Ezio kills Vieri in San Giacomo. After some more training, Ezio returns to Florence in 1478. Eventually, he learns of a plot, by the Pazzi to assassinate the Medici. He manages to save Lorenzo, but can't save Guiliano. After escorting Lorenzo to his palazzo, Ezio goes after Francesco and then, under orders from Lorenzo, the other conspirators between 1478-1480.

    At the end of this, Ezio learns that the conspirators want to take over Venice. After helping Leonardo da Vinci, who has been helping Ezio in his quest, get to Forli for the boat to Venice Ezio has to find a way to get on board. He does so by helping out Catarina Sforza, one of the Rulers of Forli. After getting on the boat to Venice, Desmond gets pulled out of the Animus, to see how much he has retained from his time in there.

    Once back in the Animus, we catch up with Ezio in Venice in 1481. After being given a brief tour of the initial part of the city, Ezio runs into, and helps, Rosa as she tries, and fails, to get into the palazzo of Emilio Barbarigo. After getting her to safety, we are introduced to Antonio, the leader of the local Thieves Guild. After helping the thieves return to their former strength, Ezio manages to assassinate Emilio. After this, Ezio discovers a plot to murder the Doge and replace him with a Templar.

    With the help of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine (which wouldn't work in real life, but I digress), Ezio manages to get into the Palazzo Ducale and kills Carlo Grimaldi, but sadly not before he poisons the Doge. The Doge dies and the story picks up in 1486, with Ezio just back in Venice. The next few missions involve the setup and assassination of Marco Barbarigo.

    After this, Ezio sets his sights on Marco's cousin Silvio, and Marco's former bodyguard Dante Moro. With the help of Bartolomeo D'Alviano, Ezio kills them. In 1488, a treasure, the two were hoping to get (another Apple of Eden) from Cyprus, comes to Venice. After disguising himself, delivering the treasure to, and confronting, Rodrigo Borgia, the Big Bad, Ezio is saved by the other Assassins, including Rosa.

    It is here that Ezio is inducted into the Assassin Brotherhood. Here is where things get tricky. Ubisoft decided to make two of the memories in this game downloadable content. The first, called the Battle of Forli, involved trying, and failing to hide the Apple of Eden in Forli in 1488. This is the one where Ezio teams up with Catarina Sforza and Rosa to battle the Orsi brothers. Then in the Bonfire of the Vanities, Ezio goes up against the man who stole the Apple in the last DLC: Girolamo Savonarola, in 1497.

    It's essentially a rehash of the first game, except you work with Rosa to bring down each of the nine people. Which brings us to the last sequence of the game. Ezio, after discovering that there is a treasure or weapon of some kind underneath the Vatican (that's why Rodrigo Borgia got himself elected Pope), he decides to break into the Vatican to stop him.

    After a fight involving the Papal Staff (which is also a Piece of Eden) and the Apple of Eden and a sword, Ezio gets knocked out. A short time later, Ezio wakes up and follows Borgia down a secret passageway to an area that has some futuristic technology in it. Here Ezio and Borgia get into a fist fight and Ezio spares him. Going further into the complex, Ezio discovers a projection of one of Those Who Came Before, who calls herself Minerva.

    Desmond is pulled out to find that the Templars have found them. Elise gives Desmond a hidden blade and together, they fight off the Templar forces, led by Warren Vidic. Everyone gets packed into the back of a truck and Desmond gets the opportunity to replay memories, like in the first game, or go into a free roam mode.

    Gameplay:

    The game play is much improved over the first game. Gone is the repetition of going to a city, going to the bureau, learning what you can about your target, then killing them. You still have to go to high points to reveal more of the map, but at least it still serves a purpose. The game has a notoriety system, where you have to pull down wanted posters, bribe heralds or kill certain officials to get rid of it. There are more side quests. Collectables (in this case, feathers, Glyphs and optional money chests) get you a cape. The in-game currency system (in this game and the next one it's Florins, though it will obviously change depending on the setting of the game) allows you to buy weapons and armor for Ezio.

    Florins also let you buy medicine, poison, and ammunition for both the crossbow and a small, wrist mounted hand gun and pouches to carry more of each. Throughout the game you can also spend money to improve Monteriggioni (buying paintings for the main villa, improving the blacksmith, doctor's office etc.) to earn more money, as well as take on optional assassination contracts from Lorenzo. There are also races, beat-em-up challenges, and tombs. Tombs are side quests where you locate them in a famous landmark and access them to get six seals. These seals unlock a chamber under the Villa Auditore that contains Altair's Armor, the most powerful armor in the game. In short, there is more to do in this game.

    Achievements/Trophies:

    Master Assassin: Get every other trophy -/Platinum

    The Birth of an Assassin: Be reborn as Ezio Auditore Da Firenze 20g/Bronze

    Arrivederci Abstergo: Break out of Abstergo 20g/Bronze

    Welcome to the Animus 2.0: Enter the Animus 2.0 20g/Silver

    The Pain of Betrayal: Complete DNA Sequence 1 30g/Silver

    Vengeance: Complete DNA Sequence 2 30g/Silver

    Exit the Son: Complete DNA Sequence 3 30g/Silver

    Bloody Sunday: Complete DNA Sequence 4 30g/Silver

    Undertaker: Discover the Assassin's Tomb in the catacombs under Santa Maria Novella 20g/Silver

    The Conspirators: Complete DNA Sequence 5 30g/Silver

    An Unexpected Journey: Complete DNA Sequence 6 30g/Silver

    Bleeding Effect: Complete training and reenter the Animus 30g/Silver

    The Merchant of Venice: Complete DNA Sequence 7 30g/Silver

    The Impenetrable Palazzo: Complete DNA Sequence 8 30g/Silver

    Masquerade: Complete DNA Sequence 9 30g/Silver

    Bianca's Man: Complete DNA Sequence 10 30g/Silver

    The Prophet: Complete DNA Sequence 11 30g/Silver

    The Vault: Complete DNA Sequence 14 30g/Silver

    An Old Friend Returns: Escape the hideout 100g/Gold

    Myth Maker: Find the 8 statuettes in Monteriggioni 5g/Bronze

    Vitruvian Man: Unlock all 20 parts of Subject 16's video 20g/Bronze

    Street Cleaner: Hide 5 bodies in a bale of hay 10g/Bronze

    Fly Swatter: Kick a guard while using the flying machine 5g/Bronze

    Messer Sandman: Stun 4 guards at once by throwing sand in their face 10g/Bronze

    Doctor: Perform an air assassination on a Poisoned NPC 20g/Bronze

    No-hitter: Kill 10 enemies while in conflict without being hit 20g/Bronze

    Kleptomaniac: Pickpocket 1,000 Florins 10g/Bronze

    Lightning Strike: Sprint for 100 meters 10g/Bronze

    Sweeper: Sweep 5 guards at once by using a long weapon 10g/Bronze

    Venetian Gladiator: Discover the Assassin's Tomb inside Santa Maria della Visitazione 20g/Bronze

    I can see your house from here!: Discover the Assassin's Tomb inside Torre Grossa 20g/Bronze

    Hallowed be thy name: Discover the Assassin's Tomb inside the Basilica di San Marco 20g/Bronze

    Prison Escape: Discover the Assassin's Tomb inside the Rocca di Ravaldino fortress 20g/Bronze

    Choir Boy: Discover the Assassin's Tomb inside the Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) 20g/Bronze

    Assassin For Hire: Complete you first assassination mission for Lorenzo il Magnifico 10g/Bronze

    Macho Man: Defend a woman's honor 10g/Bronze

    Steal Home: Win a race against the thieves 10g/Bronze

    Show your Colors: Wear the Auditore cape in each city 10g/Bronze

    Handy Man: Upgrade a building in the Stronghold 10g/Bronze

    I like the view: Synchronize ten View Points 10g/Bronze

    High Dive: Perform a Leap of Faith from the Top of Florence's Glotto's Campanile 10g/Bronze

    Mailman: Intercept a Borgia courier 10g/Bronze

    Tip of the Iceberg: Use Eagle Vision to scan a Glyph in the environment 10g/Bronze

    A Piece of the Puzzle: Unlock a piece of Subject 16's video 10g/Bronze

    Art Connoisseur: Buy a painting from both Florence and Venice 10g/Bronze

    Podesta of Monteriggioni: Reach 80% of your Stronghold's total value 30g/Bronze

    Perfect Harmony: Tint your clothes Wetland Ebony and Wetland Ivory 10g/Bronze

    In Memory of Petruccio: Collect all the Feathers 30g/Bronze

    Red Light Addict: Spend 5,000 Florins on Courtesans 10g/Bronze

    Man of the People: Toss 300 Florins onto the ground 10g/Bronze

    Victory lies in the preparation: Get all Hidden Blades, Item Pouches and Armor Upgrades for Ezio 10g/Bronze

    Review:

    Assassin's Creed II was released in late 2009 (in North America on November 17; in Australia on November 19; in Europe on November 20; in Japan on December 3) on the Xbox 2, Apple iTwin and Nintendo Sapphire. There was also a PC version that was released in Spring 2010. This game improved on many of the complaints of the original Assassin's Creed. You can now change the camera angle, add subtitles, swim and use Eagle Vision while moving. You can also blend with any large group of people not just monks. Adding to that you can send either Thieves, Courtesans or Mercenaries to distract guards from certain areas, provided you pay them first.

    The new monetary and health systems also improved on the complaints that some had with the last game. Along with the improved AI, many saw this as a more than worthy sequel to the original Assassin's Creed. This game got scores in the 8-10 range. Of course, the PC version, from what I hear had some Digital Rights Management issues at first. This was something that initially required PC players of the game to be logged onto the internet all the time. While the PC version still got good scores, that really hurt that version of the game.

    This game was an even bigger success than Assassin's Creed I. In fact, Ubisoft, and the producers, agreed to stay in Renaissance Italy. It would give it more of a sense of Brotherhood.

    -Review of Assassin's Creed II by R. C. Anderson, Nothing is True: A History of Assassin's Creed on Consoles, Gamesovermatter.com, November 20, 2017.
     
  19. Andrew Boyd I wisely keep my political views silent.

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    I'm ready to give the first look at my CGI Thomas reboot if you're willing.
     
  20. TheFaultsofAlts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    At this rate, lay it on us.
     
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