Can you believe it? April's almost over. A week from now we'll be geeksplashing movie screens across the country as we watch The Avengers release the Power of Whedon all over Loki and his hideous aliens. Well, most of us will be. Some of us watched it last night (or last week) and the rest of us hate you for it. For me, this movie is sort of opening a gateway to a summer of lunacy. The next week I'll be enjoying a vacation that I've literally been planning for over ten years. Between May 4th and the end of August I think I have some kind of plan for every weekend. But you don't care about my busy (but incredibly fun) schedule. You care about gaming news, so let's get to it:
Have you ever seen the company's name spelled as Micro$oft? Of course you have. Especially by trolling Sony fanboys. It's an unnecessary dig at a company for doing what it's designed to do, make money. But it tends to be how they make money that is irksome. A new deal has been struck to run 15-30 second TV-style commercials on XBox Live. It's easy to complain about this considering you're most likely paying them an annual fee to even be able to use the service and now they're charging you for commercials, but most of you have probably been doing that with your cable or satellite service for years. The counterpoint to this announcement is that more channels are also coming, including one from Manga Entertainment. This is all an attempt to monetize a service that's in millions of homes and should be expected. Yet it also seems oddly unnecessary. XBox Live has seen a 142% increase in advertising revenue since 2010, due in large part to the increased advertising space provided by the dashboard redesign - a redesign that many gamers feel decreased the usability of the interface. It's probably not fair to judge this latest change until we see it in action, but it's hard no to look at the concept and feel a little used.
A negative Microsoft story followed by Sony's May PlayStation Plus bonuses - doesn't exactly look like I'm playing fair. Then again, maybe those two aren't really playing fair by having these announcements run so close together. This month you'll be getting Trine 2, Rock of Ages, and Awesomenauts for free! Two of those games, Awesomenauts (5/1) and Rock of Ages (5/15), are brand new releases; Trine 2 has been around for a while and is very highly rated. As for PSOne Classics, time to don your Dracula-killing hat and prepare for painful difficulty. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Castlevania Chronicles are free for PS+. Other free benefits this month will be the beta for PixelJunk 4am, two minis (Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims and Velocity), two avatars, and a dynamic theme. That's a pretty good month. If you're looking for discounts though, how about Datura, Disney Universe, Rayman Origins, and Saints' Row The Third?
With the series now having passed the 17 million units sold mark, it should come as no surprise that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is getting a Game of the Year edition. No word yet on a release date, but it's set to include all previously released DLC, as you'd expect. If you're like me and still playing catch up from last year's games this should be a great way to get on this game. I'm so behind that I actually just sarted this one last week. So far I'd say it isn't quite as good as the second game but still totally top shelf. My biggest gripe is that their revamp of the physics to be more dynamic just makes Drake look like Adrian Monk. Does he seriously have to touch every wall in arm's reach? Even during a firefight?
Yet another accidental posting by an online retailer, Amazon France this time, has prematurely revealed a game. Well, not so much a game. It's actually a bundled three pack of games. Resistance: The Trilogy is apparently releasing sometime around May 16th, though it hasn't been announced or revealed for anywhere other than France. This will bundle all three games in the Sony-exclusive FPS series for 60 euro.
Newly announced for release this fall is NBA Baller Beats for Kinect. The game will require the use of an actual basketball as the Kinect will track it along with your body movements. It's essentially a rhythm game, with a major focus on music and ball-handling skills. This definitely seems great for a certain audience, though I have the same concerns for it as I had for the pro guitar and drum modes on Rock Band. If you're really that good with the ball, isn't playing a game about it sort of redundant? There is also the additional concern of dribbling the ball on your carpeted floor. And think how thrilled you'll be with the guy in the apartment above yours when he's playing this one. My excitement actually comes from all the awesome YouTube videos we're sure to see of people breaking up their family rooms with out of control basketballs. Sorry HB Studios, this is a cool enough concept, but maybe it should have stayed in the concept stage.
The creator of Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami, is returning to survival horror with Zwei. Yes, that's German for "two" but there's no connection, and it's also only a codename for the project right now. This will be coming from Tango Gameworks, the studio he founded that was acquired by Zenimax (parent company of Bethesda) back in 2010. Don't get too excited yet though. It's still very much in the early stages and no release window is even being hinted for now. As for where you'll find it, it will be on HD consoles, but nothing specific yet. It's early enough in development that we could be talking late stage for this generation or possibly moving into the next. Being next-gen would definitely be a good reason to not mention actual platforms yet.
Konami's updated the official website for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance with an awful live action trailer. Seriously, it looks like SyFy grade special effects. At the end of the video it shows the date 4/30/2012. They're apparently going to reveal something awesome. We've got a great series from Konami, with a revamped play style from Platinum Games. We all know what this is and whether we're interested. What could they be revealing? It's most likely the release date. If this video is any indication of the game's quality, fans should prepare for disappointment.
Pretty lackluster way to end the week, but it'll probably be like this until E3. If anyone wanted to make a big announcement, sometime in the next two weeks would be the perfect time. All of the competition will be stowing their top stories for the first week in June, then have to compete against one another for headline space. See you next week.