Archive for September 17th, 2012

, | Games

In Electronic Arts’ press release for Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, Bioware general manager Aaryn Flynn notes:

…we know we need new technology to truly make this vision become fully realized. And we’ve been working with DICE to make Frostbite 2 the foundation for the engine that is going to power Dragon Age 3.

Mass Effect 3 pushed Bioware’s traditional “connected shoeboxes” level design as far as it was going to go, and it did it long after it should have gone. To see the Frostbite 2 engine in action, boot up Battlefield 3. And now imagine how it will look in a game scheduled for late next year. That’s what Bioware is finally working with.

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, | Games

Dune Wars is probably the finest Civ IV mod I’ve ever played. I’m certainly fond of Fall from Heaven for how it’s wildly inventive and cleverly put together. But the AI seems less inclined to fall apart in Dune Wars. Furthermore, Dune Wars is such a unique and thorough expression of Frank Herbert’s fiction, which is second only to Star Wars in terms of the hold it had on my adolescent imagination.

So I was pretty disappointed when Bruce Geryk and I couldn’t get the multiplayer to work. I was keen to play the Harkonnens to his Atreides, or maybe to let him run roughshod over the early game with the Fremen while my House Corrino ferried Sardaukar from offworld for an imperial endgame, or perhaps I’d try my hand at the Bene Gesserit to cultivate a Kwisatch Haderach. But we hit on the idea of a succession game, the same way people pass around saved games for Dwarf Fortress. I’d play fifty turns, then he’d play fifty turns, then I’d play fifty turns, and so on, until we won.

You can read about it in the first new Tom vs Bruce, which is online now for the folks who supported us at the second tier or higher on Kickstarter. Alternatively, you can donate to our PayPal link at tomvsbruce.com. Or you can just wait until it goes public on Wednesday morning. Whatever the case, we hope you enjoy reading about our Dune Wars game as much as we enjoyed playing it.

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, | Features

Maybe you’re not getting enough loot in Diablo III and Guild Wars 2. Maybe you need more. Because that’s the thing about loot. You never have enough. So this week, you’re in luck. Borderlands 2 and Torchlight II arrive, bearing even more loot.

I won’t know anything about Borderlands 2 until I pick up a copy (i.e. midnight tonight for the Xbox 360), but I have it on good authority that Torchlight II is pretty much exactly as good as you think it will be (i.e. even better than Torchlight I). I’m not too keen on what my 24th level liked Outlander (pictured) is wearing, but gear in Torchlight II is like the weather in the South. If you don’t like it, just wait fifteen minutes. It’s also nice to play an action RPG that I can make as difficult as I want whenever I want. It lets me get ambitious by starting out on veteran and then having to dial it down a notch half way into Act II. What a nice contrast to Diablo III, which forces you through an obligatory easy playthrough before it starts getting interesting.

The HD version of Jet Set Radio will be available on Xbox Live and the Playstation Store. I have no idea whether Jet Set Radio holds up in the real world as well as it holds up in my imagination, where it’s a timeless classic. But if it doesn’t hold up — hi, Tony Hawk HD! — I’ll at least have the soundtrack.

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, | Movie podcasts

What do two fans of Resident Evil: Afterlife and Kelly Wand think of the latest Milla Jovovich/Paul Anderson nonsensefest? Listen to this week’s podcast and find out. If you want to avoid spoilers, fast forward to the 36-minute mark for this week’s 3×3 of our favorite tantrums. Also, find out how you can participate in next week’s 3×3!

Next week: Dredd 3D

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