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X3F Achievements 101: The Return [update 1]

After a small hiatus following the craziness that is E3, X3F Achievements 101 is back with a variety of subjects worth covering. In case some of you have forgotten how this column works, this a space devoted to Achievement Whores around the world, and gives me the opportunity to chronicle my continuing conquest of Gamerscore, on a daily basis. This week, we cover a little bit of a backlog, as there's the survival of my Achievement streak during E3, my hitting of a couple Gamerscore Milestones, and the completion of a couple more 1000 GS rentals, TMNT and Cars.

Continue reading X3F Achievements 101: The Return [update 1]

Joystiq picks the best and worst of E3 2007

All of us here in the Joystiq network are finally settling back into the daily grind after the WiFi-less chaos of E3. We've spent a good week and a half collecting our thoughts and have compiled our own awards for E3. Of course, we've got best and worst awards, but we've also come up with a few "special" awards of our own. Head over to Joystiq to see them for yourself, then pitch in with your thoughts. While you're at it, why not give some awards of your own?

X3F interview: Peter Molyneux

In another of our rapid fire, 4 minute interviews with Microsoft VIPs, we had a chance to chat with Peter Molyneux, mastermind behind Fable and the upcoming Fable 2. During our chat, we go in depth with Molyneux about the new scarring system employed in Fable 2. We also discuss the property system (which Molyneux is particularly fond of) and seafaring. And, just for grins, we ask about ninjas. If you'd prefer to listen to this interview (as well as interviews with Frank O'Connor, Brian "Ske7ch" Jarrard, and Peter Moore himself), you can check it out in our latest Fancast. Otherwise, read on.

Continue reading X3F interview: Peter Molyneux

X3F Hands-on: Beautiful Katamari

Katamari Damacy is a strange, strange game. This is a fact of which its fans are patently aware. I'm an Xbox guy, so my experience with Beautiful Katamari Damacy at E3 was my first with the series. Considering this is also the first time the series will be showing up on Xbox, it seemed like a good fit for me to try it out. For the uninitiated, the object of Katamari is to roll things up into a ball. By things, I mean all things. Thimbles, cats, bushes, people, cows, buildings, boats, everything: it's all up for grabs. You do this by manipulating the thumbsticks. That's it. That is the game. But most of you already knew that, so the next question is "why should I buy this game again on the Xbox 360?"

Continue reading X3F Hands-on: Beautiful Katamari

Joystiq takes a look at Clive Barker's Jericho

So, what was the best game at E3 that you haven't heard anything about? According to Joystiq, it might be Clive Barker's Jericho. Apart from featuring gobs of ghastly ghoulies, Jericho also looks to be sporting some very solid gameplay. The primary gameplay element revolves around the character switching dynamic, which gives players a multitude of skills and abilities spread across six different squad members. If the idea of blasting monstrous baddies with mind-controlled bullets sounds exciting. Hit the "read" link to check out Joystiq's in depth preview. Oh, ever wondered what the first person view of decapitation looks like? Yeah, that's in Jericho.

Joystiq checks out Ace Combat 6

Joystiq got a chance to try out Ace Combat 6 at E3 last week, and they came away impressed. Of particular note are the game's incredible graphics. According to Joystiq, the earth below is damned near photo-realistic. Even individual buildings are actually rendered. Furthermore, the gameplay proves to be intense, with midair skirmishes occurring all throughout the open skies. Ground and naval combat come into play as well, and players have some control over that as well, being able to command allies to target certain enemies. Yup, not much bad to say about Ace Combat 6 at all. Check out the game's jaw dropping graphics in the gallery below. Better yet, check out the demo on Xbox Live.

Gallery: Ace Combat 6

X3F hands-on: TimeShift

TimeShift, the time-bending first person shooter from Saber Interactive has had something of a bumpy development history. Originally destined to be an original Xbox title -- Official Xbox Magazine even had a demo of it at one point -- the game has since switched publishers (from Atari to Vivendi) and moved to the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. We had a chance to play the game at E3, and it looks like the extra development time was worth the wait.

Gallery: TimeShift

Continue reading X3F hands-on: TimeShift

Fallout 3 screens show ludicrous gibs

There's nothing quite like ridiculously over the top violence to take the edge off, is there? It looks like the boys and girls at Bethesda are patently aware of this fact, as the latest batch of Fallout 3 screenshots have a bit of a gruesome flare to them. Of course, it's not all gibs. There are some nice shots of dilapidated structures, a nasty looking super mutant, and even a character or two. Check them out in the gallery below. While you're at it, don't forget to read Joystiq's E3 impressions of the game either.

[Via Joystiq]

Gallery: Fallout 3

X3F impressions: Mass Effect

For many people, the wait for BioWare's Mass Effect has been a terribly arduous one. We've been treated to a few snippets of gameplay action, some very pretty screens, and even a novel, but the game itself is still four months away. We got a chance to take an extended look at the game at E3 this year, and honestly, it looks like it's going to be worth the wait.

First thing's first: the game is visually stunning. The level of detail in the character models is pretty much a textbook example of what the current generation of video games should look like. Even since its showing at GDC in March, the facial features have improved by leaps and bounds. The eyes have depth and the lip syncing is about as spot on as you're likely to see in a video game. Of course, the real graphical treats are the various alien races, which benefit from not having to tread the edge of the Uncanny Valley. As such, the alien characters seem to have a bit more life and verve to them than even the excellently detailed human offerings. The environments, too, are topnotch.

Continue reading X3F impressions: Mass Effect

X3F interview: Bungie's Frank O'Connor

In another 4 minute E3 round robin interview (check out our first session with Peter Moore), we got the chance to interview Bungie's Frank O'Connor, better known simply as Frankie to Bungie fans. We made sure to ask him about Halo, of course, but we also asked him about Peter Jackson's project and Bungie's magnum opus, Pimps at Sea.

First of all, when did you actually start Halo 3's production? Was it almost immediately after Halo 2?

Some of it was even before, you know, some of the concepting and design stuff was done before then, but pretty much three years of development.

When you were doing Halo 2, was there a time when you were thinking Halo 1, Halo 2 and that was it, or were you always thinking trilogy?

We were thinking of a trilogy. I can't say that we felt that during Halo 1 but certainly during Halo 2. That became very apparent that there was more story to tell than could fit into a 10 hour, 11 hour game.

The last trilogy you did for Mac was the Marathon games. And Halo 1 you were originally doing for Mac ...

There's some symmetry there, yeah.

Continue reading X3F interview: Bungie's Frank O'Connor

Videos: Burnout Paradise from GameTrailers

While we didn't get a chance to get hands on here at X3F, you're welcome to check out Joystiq's outlook on Burnout Paradise. In the meantime though, we have a bunch of video from GameTrailers. The first of which is a gameplay trailer that shows what some readers complained that the teaser lacked: crashes. The game runs silky smooth and on top of that eye candy we have a trifecta of videos for you after the break. The first is more gameplay, followed by a developer interview that covers a new feature: "Road Rules". The last one goes over the open world of Paradise City. Enjoy.

Continue reading Videos: Burnout Paradise from GameTrailers

X3F hands-on: Viva Pinata: Party Animals

As a game designed to appeal to a younger audience, Viva Piñata had one fault that probably stood out the most: other than the cutesy characters, it wasn't really designed to appeal to a younger audience. The game is fairly complicated and requires some pretty intense micromanagement in later levels (at least it does if you want to advance). Furthermore, VP does almost nothing to capitalize on the children's property around which it is centered. The various piñatas, which are wacky and wisecracking characters on the children's program, are little more than grunting, mindless animals in the game. With Viva Piñata: Party Animals, Microsoft looks to take on all these problems at once. We took it for a spin at E3 to see what sets it apart.

Continue reading X3F hands-on: Viva Pinata: Party Animals

X3F interview: 4 minutes in the dark with Peter Moore

Peter Moore with Rock Band producer, Helen McWilliams

On the second night of E3, we stepped into a large, dimly lit room filled with tables -- 8 tables to be exact. At each table sat important folk from the ranks of Microsoft. Bungie's Frank O'Connor, Peter Molyneux: there's some big names in this room (we'll have more on them soon). Sitting in front of us is Peter Moore, VP of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division -- i.e. Xbox. On the right hand side of the room is large LED chess clock. We have four minutes. That's it. The clock starts and we ask him the first thing we can think to ask. We've only got four minutes here, so there's no point in being coy about it.

How do you like Rock Band?

I love Rock Band. I actually, as you may or may not know, I actually went on stage again last night down in west Hollywood, and got up on the stage with the guys and had a good time. Once I can hear the music I can play the game, you know, so I think it's a great game. I love it, I flew to Cambridge, Massachusetts about six months ago, got my first taste of it. Just knew right then we needed to make it part of the briefing, and knew I'm stupid enough to go and put a guitar around my neck and give it a go.

Continue reading X3F interview: 4 minutes in the dark with Peter Moore

Sessler: Don't judge unfinished Assassin's Creed

During Microsoft's E3 press conference, Ubisoft decided to demo their golden child Assassin's Creed, but things did not go as smoothly as they had hoped. You see, the demo was a tad buggy and suffered from bad collision detection, floating bodies and a somewhat questionable framerate. And everyone noticed. Assassin's Creed has suffered some negative press these past few days as some gamers have been bashing the on-stage demo and the game.

Enter G4 TV's Adam Sessler who climbed atop his soap box to tell gamers that we have no right to judge the game based on the bugs, because it just isn't finished. Sessler makes a great argument stating that video games are one of the only artistic mediums in which the artists allow fans to preview their work before it's complete. Bugs are normal in unfinished products, it's as simple as that. And we have to agree. Let's just take a deep breath and ignore Assassin's floating bodies. See, we bet you feel better already.

Video: Show your dark side in Force Unleashed

One of yesterday's more riveting trailers that showed the most potential has got to be the gem embedded above. The trailer is none other than Star Wars: Force Unleashed and man does the opening cinematic make our geeky side go a flutter. And from the looks of things, you'll not only be able to play as Darth Vader's apprentice, but you'll also get to use the force to wreak havoc. Give the trailer a watch and fantasize about the many ways you'll be able to unleash the force.

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