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Demo Dated for New Capcom RPG Dragon’s Dogma

Awesome new hack and slash RPG Dragon's DogmaAfter unveiling the new RPG/hack & slash title at their annual press event Captivate in Rome a few weeks ago, Capcom have finally announced a release date for the Dragon’s Dogma demo.

Dropping onto Xbox Live and PSN on the 25 April in Europe, the Dragon’s Dogma demo will offer players the chance to take two of the nine classes available in the full game through two unique and exclusive prologue sequences to the main games story.

The title will also introduce the ‘Pawn’ party system where you can create a party made up of characters from the game world and those created by other players via in-game connectivity. Both the melee-based Fighter class and the stealth-savvy Strider class will each offer a unique environment and final boss encounter that will showcase their unique strengths and abilities.

Aiming to mix RPG elements with more traditional hack & slash and horror staples, Dragon’s Dogma will also offer the standard avatar customisation feature but will neatly let players port their customised demo character over to the main game.

The full version of Dragon’s Dogma will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on May 25.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Announced for iOS

Marvel vs Capcom for iOS

IOS users will now be able to bring the pain on the move when the Marvel vs. Capcom sequel arrives today on iTunes!

The insane, hurricane-paced 2D-fighter mash-up will bring its full 56-character roster to the iOS version so you’ll be able to lay waste with favourites such as Ryan, Wolverine, Mega Man and Spidey. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will also bring back the popular ‘Variable System’, so players used to playing the older versions on Dreamcast or Xbox Live Arcade will be able to hot-swap between a team of characters at the touch of the screen.

Being one of the fastest pace entries in the crossover series, the pressure will be on Capcom to make this arcade classic translate onto the touch screen interface of Apple devices.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 joins other classic and popular Capcom titles on iOS such as Street Fighter IV, Mega Man X and Resident Evil 4: Platinum Edition.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will be available for download on the App Store from April 25th.

Capcom Reveal Lost Planet Threequel

Capcom have managed to let slip that a third outing in the Lost Planet franchise is in the works.

A video was briefly uploaded to YouTube confirming the games existence early last week. Capcom were quick to have the video taken down, but not before the internet was abuzz with surprise and speculation.

Not one to waist an opportunity, Capcom quickly added the new third-person shooter installment to its already crowded announcement list at its annual showcase event, Captivate, in Rome a few days later.

Development duties for Lost Planet 3 have supposedly fallen into the hands of Spark Entertainment, who have previously released the equally disappointing FPS titles Legendary: The Box and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty.  A bold move considering the studio’s previous FPS-focused experience, but Capcom are clearly hoping Spark will find their stride in such a rich and established universe.

Both Lost Planet and its 2010 sequel were developed internally at Capcom, so the decision to outsource the games development to a third party is something of a risk with such an established title. Using Western developers to work on Eastern IPs has had mixed results in the past, from the success of Dead Rising to the reboot car crash of Bionic Commando.

The unexpected reveal came at rather unfortunate time as the gaming world’s attention was focused firmly on the new Resident Evil 6 and Devil May Cry reboot trailers showcased at same event. With further information on both these franchises trickling out of Capcom HQ, you can expect further information on the sci-fi threequel in the coming weeks.

Lost Planet 3 will be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013.

The Second Chance Club: Dark Void

Welcome to The Second Chance Club, a new regular retro reviews column with a bit of twist. With TSCC I’ll be revisiting or trying out for the first time a game that’s received poor reviews or sold particularly badly in the last few years. Maybe it’s a game that’s failed to meet expectations or a title that’s generally received a mediocre reception all round. Whatever the first reception, every ‘bad’ game gets another shot at glory with The Second Chance Club. Or have a second nail nailed firmly into its coffin…

This week, we’ll be kicking off the inaugural edition with Capcom’s sci-fi flight combat-cum-third person shooter Dark Void.

On paper, Dark Void should have been a colossal success. Developed by Airtight Games, a studio made up the core staff that gave us the addictive dogfighter Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge on the original Xbox, it also had a score composed by Bear ‘Battlestar Galactica’ McCreary and the might of goliath publisher Capcom to boot. It even had the repetitive but normally dependable Nolan ‘Nathan Drake’ North voicing the main character. But somehow all these elements managed the quite impressive feat of cancelling each other out into a broken mess that received an overall metacritic score of 59 out of 100. Even sales of the game mirrored the savage mauling it took from the gaming press, essentially condemning it to the crowded ‘flop’ pile.

Does Dark Void deserve a second chance?

Dark Void follows Will, a pre-WW2 cargo pilot who flies into the Bermuda Triangle and is sucked into another world called ‘The Void’. Will finds himself stranded with his ex-girlfriend, like you do, in a conflict between a band of surviving humans (known rather originally as the ‘Survivors’) and a race of cybernetic aliens known as the Watchers (think of a cross between Mass Effect’s Geth and General Grevious from Star Wars). Throw in the presence of real-life scientist Nikola Tesla as the token-scientist who-happens-to-be-there-to-build-all-your-gear and you’ve essentially got Dark Void. No, that’s really it. It seems the idea of a coherent, emotionally investable narrative was jettisoned long ago.

There really aren’t many positive things to talk about when it comes to Dark Void, because the game manages to throw together a handful of different genres yet somehow create something instantly forgettable. The opening few hours are some of the most frustrating I’ve ever sat through. I say ‘sat’, on quite a few occasions I almost threw my controller through the TV thanks to the abrupt opening dog-fight with no narrative explanation, twitchy controls and meagre spattering of hints. What followed was a good hour or two of cover-based shoot out with no aerial shenanigans whatsover. If the first and years older Gears of War provides more dynamic and rewarding gun-play – even with all those original bugs – then Capcom should have thought twice about unleashing this game on the world.

Capcom's Dark Void - lost gem or genuine guff?

Even when the game finally gives you the chance to hover and flit from nook to cranny with the first version of the jet pack, Dark Void manages to strip it of all the possible fun it could be. Being able to use ledges in vertical cover shoot-outs up the side of structures should be a fast, dynamic and genre redefining experience. Instead, it’s a slow and boring as the gun-fights back on the ground. Even, the weapons are near useless until you collect enough ‘tech points’ (which are Crackdown-style orbs scattered aimlessly around levels) which allow you to upgrade the piss-poor things into something approaching useful. Which help with the shocking aiming, inevitable deaths and mercilessly sparse check-points.

The thing is, there’s a part of me that desperately wants to love Dark Void. A self-confessed Rocketeer fan-boy, I haven’t properly enjoyed a good old dogfighting game since I played Crimson Skies to death all those years ago. Dark Void should be like Gears on War on four-dimensional acid, effortlessly combining aerial combat with cover-reliant shoot-outs. But it sadly misses that opportunity entirely. The power of current gen consoles means there’s no excuse to not fully realise a concepts full potential, only the limits of the design team or time given to make it. Airtight Games strength is clearly show in the flight controls, but these are sluggish at best. Even the mediocre Blazing Angels games feel more responsive than this painful genre pile-up.

Dark Void, as you’ve probably gathered by now, isn’t some misunderstood gem. Usually the omission of multiplayer would have me scoring off points for such a title, but in this case it’s more a blessing than anything else. Dark Void feels a lot like Peter Jackson’s King Kong tie-in, a game with all the potential in the world, executed with all the grace of plane crash.

Avoid, like the plague. You’ll thank me one day.

TSCC Score: 4/10


Year of Release: 2010

Version Reviewed: Xbox 360

Alternative Formats: PS3, PC