Team Fortress 2 Now Free to Play!

Team Fortress 2 is now Free to Play

June 23, 2011 - Valve, creators of bestselling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead,and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), announced today that after four years and over 200 updates, its popular and critically-acclaimed online action game Team Fortress 2 (TF2) is now Free To Play (F2P).

The F2P announcement comes as part of the "Über Update". Released today, it is the largest content pack delivered to TF2 since it shipped in 2007.

New players interested in experiencing what PC Gamer calls "the most fun you can have online" will have access to training and offline practice modes,so they can hone their skills before jumping into the ever-expanding TF2 universe.

To celebrate the launch of the Über Update, Valve has released "Meet the Medic," the latest in its series of TF2 animated shorts.

TF2 is now Free to Play for PC & Mac players via Steam.

For more information on Free to Play,please visit http://www.teamfortress.com/freetoplay.

Video: New L.A. Noire Official Trailer

Rockstar today released a new official trailer for their upcoming detective mystery game L.A. Noire. Players take the role of Detective Cole Phelps as he tries to clean up the streets of Los Angeles in 1947. The trailer is entirely created from in-game footage. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this game. It hits store shelves May 17th in the U.S.

 

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Video: Duke Nukem Forever: Aliens & Jetpacks

In a new video from Gearbox, Duke punches an alien's head off, and rides his corpse through the 25th floor window of a nearby skyscraper. All in a day's work.

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New Battlefield 3 Gameplay Trailer

EA released today the newest trailer for the upcoming blockbuster FPS Battlefield 3. This game's going to be pretty intense. And if you preorder the limited edition of the game, you'll get a DLC pack called "Back to Karkand" for free! Sounds like a deal some BF-heads won't be able to resist.

Hey you! Help name some video game characters!

You've always wanted to leave your mark in the video gaming universe, haven't you? You've wished and hoped, and hoped and wished, but your dreams never came true. You couldn't influence what goes on in the crazy world of video game developers and publishers. (Oh, well, except maybe that one time.) Folks, I've got great news! Today is your day!

Slam Bolt Scrappers, one of my favorites from PAX Prime, is allowing you to vote on the names of two of its in-game characters in a new poll. It's these two lovable guys that need names:

The lovable little angel guy on the left will end up either: CumuloSeraph, or Zephyr, and our red masked friend will be donned: ArcBrazerJoule, or Torch. Don't you just want to squeeze their cute chubby cheeks? Alright, me neither, but I would love to create some serious destruction and chaos with either one of them.

So why not head on over to their poll and put your mark in the gaming history books? Hey, in a few years, you can brag to your kids about it.

Check out some new screenshots below.

Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard Announced w/ New Trailer!

In the wee hours this morning, Turbine announced that the next full-on Lord of the Rings Online expansion is coming next year: Rise of Isengard. Whoo! This expansion will continue LOTRO's Epic Story as Grey Company moves closer to Isengard and Saruman into the Dunland region. There's also a new level cap: up to level 70! Check out the trailer below, and there's sure to be more news about the expansion heading into next year. Also feel free to take a look at the press release below.

[DISCLAIMER: I happen to work at 360 Public Relations, which represents Turbine, Inc. But that doesn't mean this news is any less awesome than it seems.]

WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE AND TURBINE UNVEIL THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™: RISE OF ISENGARD™

New Digital Expansion to The Lord of the Rings Online™ Launching Fall 2011

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment unveiled today The Lord of the Rings Online™: Rise of Isengard™, the latest expansion to the award-winning free-to-play massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) developed by Turbine. Rise of Isengard will expand the online world of Middle-earth where players will join forces to press further eastward into the legendary region of Isengard.  Rise of Isengard will be available for purchase in the LOTRO Store in the Fall of 2011 with an increased level cap, the new region of Isengard including the legendary tower of Orthanc, enhancements to monster play and much more!

“2010 has been a year of unprecedented growth for The Lord of the Rings Online with our successful introduction of a free-to-play option for our players,” said Kate Paiz, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online. “This is going to be another outstanding year for the game as we progress on our journey toward Mordor and it all begins with our upcoming November update. The journey will carry through 2011 ending with our arrival in the epic region of Isengard where players will confront the raging war and shadow that has spread across Middle-earth.”

NEW FEATURES:
+ Experience the Rise of Isengard – The Epic Story continues as the Grey Company makes its way south into Dunland, but troubles arise as their road takes them into lands where Dunlending forces, marshaled by the Wizard Saruman, prepare for war. The Rangers must seek new allies and face dangerous new foes, chief among them the traitor Saruman, whose web of intrigue threatens to endanger your quest, your friends, and your life.
+ Increased Level Cap — Players will be able advance their characters up to level 70, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests.
+ Expanded Monster Play – LOTRO’s monster play system will get a major revamp including opening up the feature to all players, changes to monster player skills and advancement and a brand new region for players to battle for or against the forces of evil.

The Lord of the Rings Online is the ultimate adventure. This award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most famous fantasy of all time. From the picturesque surroundings of the Shire to Moria, the most fearsome underground realm ever imagined, players can experience the world of Middle-earth for free! For more information, visit www.lotro.com.

Swarm: Heading to PSN and XBLA – New Screenshots!

UTV Ignition & HotHead Games announced today that their game Swarm will be hitting Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network in early 2011. I got a look at the trailer for the game at PAX Prime this year, but there wasn't much other information available. They're calling it "the first game to feature mass character control, where you
move all 50 Swarmites at once," and it's going to have the Hothead humor you're accustomed to if you've played either of the DeathSpank games.

The game is essentially a puzzler, where you control your "swarm" and perform different moves to solve the ridiculous predicaments the swarm may find themselves in. Check out the screenshots below.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – New trailer!

Eidos Montreal has released a new trailer for the upcoming Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is the third game in the acclaimed series. It's set in not-too-far-off 2027, which is a few years before either of the other two games in the series. This time, you're getting mechanical augmentations, which should make for a pretty sweet experience. The game will hit PC (and OnLive, if anyone cares), Xbox 360, and PS3 in March of 2011. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

[ Official Deus Ex site ]

PAX Hands-On: Tales from Space: About a Blob

My favorite aliens are the cute ones. Fortunate for me, then, that the main character in Tales from Space: About a Blob is this little guy:

AboutABlob_blob

The premise of the game is pretty simple, and also pretty awesome: you're that little alien blob, and you go around eating stuff. Like, a lot of stuff. Anything that's smaller than you, actually, is available for the eating. And, obviously, as you eat the objects scattered across the environment, you grow, and then that allows you to eat bigger things, which make you grow more, etc. Eventually, you're able to swallow the whole world.

If you're thinking this sounds a lot like Katamari Damacy, you'd be right. It's a pretty similar concept. But instead of rolling around and picking stuff up, you're eating it. Like a good American, right?

I'm not sure where in the game's story I was during the demo, but I wan't able to glean what the over-arching plot would be. For that, we have the official trailer, which is quite campy:

So there you have it. Aliens crash on the earth, science captures them, and they escape! And then they can eat stuff!

That trailer gives you a pretty good idea of the sense of humor in the game. The game knows it's ridiculous, and it relishes in that fact. I mean, who wouldn't love a billboard like this?

billboard

The art style is pretty wacky, and I love it. When I first picked up and played the game, I felt like I was in a Nickelodeon cartoon like Aaah! Real Monsters or Rocko's Modern Life. Everything's got that off-kilter, rough look to it, and it works really well here. The backdrops to each level aren't too distracting but certainly add to the atmosphere and odd look of the game -- the animation style is different than the foreground and your characters, but they complement each other well. The character animations are also great -- your blob glides along quickly but smooshes, bends, splats, and contorts in a decidedly pleasing manner.  It takes a minute or two to get accustomed to the gravity in the game, but it's pretty easy once you know that your blob isn't really all that heavy and bounces around fairly easily.

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Your blob does do a lot of bouncing, especially if you're playing co-op with a friend -- which you should, since this is a game definitely better enjoyed in co-op mode. You're working together, but you can hit each other, bounce off each other, and jump in front of your partner to get the edibles on the level first. This will certainly make for some friendly -- or deadly -- competition between you and whoever is sitting beside you holding the other controller. It's nice to see another sidescroller take the idea of co-op play and make it both a friendly and a competitive experience, not unlike New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Like I said, I wasn't sure where I was in the progression of the game as a whole, but I didn't see myself getting bored with the basic mechanics of the game if I was playing in co-op mode. I would have liked to see some other sort of game mode or a plot device that would keep your hands on the controller, but I'm sure Drinkbox Studios has something up its sleeve for us.

I'm excited to see this game hit the virtual shelves. And, speaking of that fact, it's going to be on PSN exclusively; Drinkbox has just announced that they're part of the Sony Pub Fund program, which is great news for them. DrinkBox CEO noted in a recent press release that “Pub Fund has been a good fit for us. The royalty guarantee and other Pub Fund terms have allowed us to confidently focus on finishing our game while retaining ownership and artistic control over the project." I love independent studios that can churn out a game of this quality, and the fact that they're retaining all ownership of everything related to this game is something to be excited about. It'll be available at some point in early 2011. Get it!

New Screenshots: HOARD

HOARD is an upcoming Playstation Network action-adventure in which you take control of dragons (!) that are being bullied by those mean old humans. Your goal is to, well, basically raid and destroy the human towns that are surrounding you and grab their treasure. You can also kidnap princesses for ransom, burn crops, and just cause general destruction. There will also be four player co-op mode!

I'll be playing the game at PAX, so expect some impressions in a few days. In the meantime, check out some of the screenshots below! (Or you can check out the official site here)