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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

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Wrath of the Lich King: Utgarde Keep Preview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment recently posted a preview of one of the dungeons featured in the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion for the popular World of Warcraft. The preview showcases Utgarde Keep, an impervious fortress occupied by the savage and enigmatic half-giant vrykul.

Utgarde's design ties closely into the creation of Howling Fjord as a whole. Less high-concept than the otherworldly and wildly diverse regions of Outland, we want the zones in Northrend to follow a geographic theme that's more consistent with the familiar geography of Azeroth. Many of Northrend's regions originally appeared in Warcraft III -- such as Howling Fjord, one of the two starting areas and also where Utgarde Keep is prominently located. Howling Fjord's Azerothian feel stands in sharp contrast to the stark, alien beauty of Hellfire Peninsula, and this should help players establish an immediate connection to the expansion's new environments.

However, the residents of Utgarde Keep are more than happy to make them feel less at home. The Vrykul (think Vikings, only bigger, fiercer, and extremely inhospitable) have made Utgarde Keep their staging ground for attacks against nearby Horde and Alliance settlements, including Valgarde, and they aren't exactly thrilled to see new heroes coming in to reinforce the town. When you arrive in Daggercap Bay, you will experience regular Vrykul attacks firsthand as the raging giants assault Valgarde and rain fire down on the buildings from the backs of their proto-dragon mounts. The intent here is to make you feel deeply involved in the expansion's overall plot from the moment you step off the boat, and we felt there's really no better way to achieve this than to have a Vrykul giant chase you around with an axe that's easily twice your own size.

Head over to the official Lich King website at the link below to view the rest of the preview.

WoW: Wrath Of The Lich King Dungeon Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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Need For Speed: Carbon Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Applelinks has posted a new review of Need For Speed: Carbon, an action packed racing title from Electronic Arts, made available for Intel Macs courtesy of Cider emulation. Applelinks gave the game a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

The racing itself starts out fairly easy, but that doesn't last. By adapting more of an arcade style approach and forgoing realism, the developer made sure they built up your confidence before tearing it down later on. The keyboard controls don't help. They're fine enough in the early levels, but as the difficulty increases, I found them terribly frustrating. Thankfully, the game worked just fine with my Logitech RumblePad 2. Setting it up was kind of annoying, if only because the set-up interface is cumbersome. Beyond that, though, having a good game pad will make a world of difference. In fact, I'm tempted to rent the Wii version of Need for Speed: Carbon just to see how much easier it is to play when doing so with controls conducive to racing.

This is important, because considering the wide variety of racing styles and the difficulty of them all, you'll nee a more seamless control system than the keyboard can provide. The drifting races, especially, is much, much easier to handle with a c-stick or actual steering wheel (I didn't test the game with a steering wheel, so I can't comment on compatibility). Same with the boss battles, which find you first staying as close to the opposing driver as possible, and then trying to stay as far ahead as possible. These are quite fun, but they're just not natural and are therefore extremely frustrating on the keyboard.
To read the full review head over to the link below.

Applelinks: Need For Speed Carbon
Electronic Arts
Need for Speed: Carbon
Buy Need for Speed: Carbon

Apple Games Features iPod Phase
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games' latest feature offers a look at Phase, a new iPod game from the makers of Guitar Hero. Phase allows players to enjoy an interactive game while listening to their music collections. Using the click wheel to keep up with the rhythm of the music, players catch colorful music notes in a fashion similar to Guitar Hero and other rhythm games. The Apple Games feature also offers tips and tricks to help gamers improve their skills.

Choose one of three difficulty levels and embark on a musical journey along a path designed to look like a three-line musical staff. Phase divides your trek into checkpoints, with their quantity determined by a songís length. As dots that represent musical notes head your way, press the correct click wheel button to activate a target at the right moment. When you come across curved lines of smaller dots, known as sweeps, glide your finger across the click wheel to scoop them up.

Stars at the bottom of the screen fill as you successfully catch notes. You need to fill a certain number of stars by the time you reach the next checkpoint; if you donít, you lose a life, represented by hearts. Run out of hearts and your game ends; complete all the checkpoints and reach the end of the song to win.

The notesí placement on the path matches the beat of the music, but you encounter tighter bunches of them on higher difficulty settings. You also need to fill more stars before the next checkpoint during tougher games, leaving you little margin for error. The crowd goes wild every time you pass through a checkpoint, so keep them happy.
Click over to the link below to check out the rest of the feature.

Apple Games: iPod Phase

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Macgamestore: Europa Universalis III, Biofilm Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story recently added Europa Universalis III and Biofilm to its growing catalog of downloadable game titles. EU III is the latest installment of the world domination strategy series, while Biofilm offers unique real time strategy gameplay with bacteria.

Europa Universalis III:
The eagerly anticipated new chapter in the acclaimed world-conquering strategy series, Europa Universalis, has put Paradox Interactive on the map as a leading strategy developer and publisher. Europa Universalis III delves deeply into the areas of exploration, trade, warfare and diplomacy. This epic strategy game lets players take control of a nation and guide it through the ages to become a great global empire.

Unparalleled in its depth and historical accuracy, Europa Universalis III gives the player unprecedented freedom in how they choose to rule their nation from an impressive choice of over 250 historically accurate countries.

In a soup of bacterial life propagation is the only goal. In Biofilm players are introduced to the hidden complexities and dangers of their world. With massive cell numbers feeding on the nutrients in each level and cell types playing off the skills and weaknesses of others, strategy and foresight are key to success.

Play through the campaigns or get into quick games with practice mode. Either way, experiment and play around with the variety of cells given to you!

Europa Universalis III costs $39.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9; an Intel or PPC G5 processor; GeForce 5200, Radeon 9600, or GMA950; 64 MB VRAM; 512 MB RAM; and 700 MB hard disk space.

Biofilm costs $19.95 and requires Mac OS 10.3.9 and ATI Radeon 7000, nVidia GeForce 2MX, or Intel GMA950 graphics hardware. A G5 or Intel processor are also recommended.

Follow the links below for more information.

Buy Europa Universalis III
Buy Biofilm

Mac Games News for Monday, November 12, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews the Razer Lachesis4:00 PM
Fashion Cents Deluxe Comes To OS X6:00 AM
Peggle: Coming To Mac, How It Was Made6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Discussing The Ghost6:00 AM
Unreal Tournament 3 Previewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, November 12, 2007 on one page

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