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Review: LEGO Batman

I won't lie to you: I'm a huge Batman fan. A Bat-freak, you might say. From collecting comics and watching The Animated Series ad infinitum to camping out for tickets to the midnight showing of new Bat-films (barring the Joel Schumacher travesties), if it's Batman, I'll give it a shot.

So great is my Batman fanaticism that I purposely skipped LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures in order to maintain my anticipation for LEGO Batman. The two properties may seem unrelated, but the truth is, I knew full well that despite all the Batman lore that Traveler's Tales would no doubt cram into a Gotham built brick by LEGO brick, taking in too much of the LEGO action game formula would kill Batman's fun factor quicker than a whiff of the Joker's deadly gas. As I predicted, LEGO Batman is immense fun -- if you can look past the LEGO formula's reoccurring flaws that should have been fixed after the first LEGO Star Wars.

Gallery: LEGO Batman

Continue reading Review: LEGO Batman

Hands-on: RACE Pro

To say that Sweden-based developer SimBin is kind of good at creating simulation racers would be akin to saying that Shigeru Miyamoto has marginally influenced the direction of video games. Racing, quite frankly, is SimBin's forte. With almost as many accolades as Mario Andretti has championship wins, SimBin has truly mastered the PC as their platform of choice on which to create realistic racing simulations.

That's all well and good, but how will such a thorough level of authenticity transfer over to the Xbox 360, a device with fixed hardware and eight buttons of input? SimBin's answer comes in the form of RACE Pro, a simulation racer developed specifically for the Xbox 360, and one we took for a test drive at a recent Atari press event.

Continue reading Hands-on: RACE Pro

X3F Presents... Season Update: Madden NFL 09

Welcome to X3F Season Update where we outline the additions and changes to major sports franchises. Looking to nab Madden NFL 09? This handy guide will walk you through some of the updates to the franchise and pinpoint issues we've heard from around the web. In this feature we tackle everything from the new Madden IQ feature to the utter failure that is the online leagues in the game. Jump in sports fans and find out everything you need to know about Madden NFL 2009.

Continue to X3F Season Update: Madden NFL 09

E308 hands-on: Galaga Legions

click to embiggen

There's really no way to get around this, so here it is: Galaga Legions might as well be called Galaga Championship Edition. It's made by the same Namco team that made Pac-Man Championship Edition and it achieves the same success: reinventing an arcade classic and making it relevant again. At the same time, it is definitely still Galaga in much the same way that Pac-Man CE is still Pac-Man. It's new, it's classic, it's pretty. Period.

Continue reading E308 hands-on: Galaga Legions

E308: Hands on with Halo Wars

Since it was first announced, it was made clear that Ensemble Studios' goal in creating Halo Wars was to do for real time strategy games what Halo did for first person shooters: take a genre predominantly played on the PC and make it work on a console. Bridging the gap between a console controller and the combination of keyboard and mouse is no easy task. Beyond that, RTS games just don't feel like they belong on consoles. So, Ensemble set out to build an RTS title for the Xbox 360 from the ground up, a game designed to work with a controller and work. Did Ensemble do it? Based on my time with the E3 demo, I'm inclined to say yes.

Continue reading E308: Hands on with Halo Wars

E308: Fable 2 and Banjo reception in pictures

Here at X3F, we're party animals. No, no, no, scratch that, we're PAAARRRTAY ANIMALS! That's just how we roll and that's why we traveled back into Los Angeles last night to attend Microsoft's Fable 2 and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts reception. So, as part of the umbrella of news coverage we're churning out of E3, we thought we'd offer up all the pictures we took from the event similar to our Gears 2 reception pics. Which, coincidentally, was in the same venue. Enjoy the picture show and make your way to the break for a short (super short) off screen video of one of the Fable 2 Pub Game's "Wizard's Tower".

Gallery: E308: Fable 2 and Banjo-Kazooie Reception

Continue reading E308: Fable 2 and Banjo reception in pictures

Hands on: Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts vehicle creation

During a special reception last night -- held at the same venue as the Gears of War 2 reception -- Microsoft allowed the press to get their grubby mitts on Rare's upcoming Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. The game has already been the center of some criticism from gamers, especially fans of the Banjo Kazooie series. Most of the coverage of the game thus far has dealt with the game's unique vehicle creation system, which allows players to build vehicles from dozens of mix and match parts, LEGO style. For those hoping this article contains a revelation regarding the platforming in Nuts & Bolts, we regret to inform you that the game's hub world -- where most of the platforming takes place -- was not available for play at the event. Here's the good news though, the vehicle creation is really, really fun.

Continue reading Hands on: Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts vehicle creation

Xbox 360 Fancast E3 08 Special: Day 1

Hey everyone, let's make this super clear, everyone on the X3F crew is dog tired. We made this episode running on nothing but pure nerve, and it shows. Today we endeavor to talk about Gears of War 2 multiplayer details, Fallout 3, Fable 2, Banjo Kazooie, and many other topics. Oh, and by the way, Left 4 Dead is freaking awesome. Listen to the show and wish us luck in the remaining days of E3. Luck, and an extra reserve of sanity.

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Richard Mitchell (SenseiRAM), Dustin Burg (SuperDunners), Alexander Sliwinski (Sli Xander)

Produced by Richard Mitchell

Music: Intro/Outro: "Electromooq" by Uma Floresta.

For fans: Xbox 360 Fancast Facebook group

E308: Gears of War 2 multiplayer impressions

After much anticipation and a bunch of excitement fueled anxiety, we made it to Microsoft's Gears of War 2 multiplayer reception last night where journalist and video game execs mingled, drank some drinks and chainsawed the night away. We were able to test out a few of Gears 2's various multiplayer modes and give the new weapons a test drive all while taking it all in, analyzing the gaming experience and garnering an opinion. Quite simply, we could say the game is "badass" and be on our way. But we're sure you'd like a bit more explanation. Read on to get a flavor of what multiplayer mayhem you'll be experiencing come November 7th.

Gallery: E308: Microsoft Gears of War 2 Reception

Continue reading E308: Gears of War 2 multiplayer impressions

Xbox 360 Fancast E3 08 Special: Day 0

Here it is fanboys. E3 hasn't even officially started yet, and already we're running ourselves ragged and staying up into the wee hours of the morning (it's just after 4:00 in the morning in Los Angeles as of this posting ... eesh). Here is the first of our E3 Special Fancasts. We'll be dropping a new one every day during E3 this week, so keep your eyes open for Day 1 tomorrow. We won't be offering these as enhanced podcasts, by the way, as we're putting them together as quickly as possible for everyone. Enjoy today's Day 0 episode, as Dustin, Alexander and Richard (that's me!) discuss the Microsoft E3 Press Briefing. Tomorrow: Gears of War 2 and (if we can get them in time) Fable 2 and Banjo 3.

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
[Zune] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in Zune Marketplace (MP3).
[RSS MP3] Add the Xbox 360 Fanboy Podcast feed (in MP3) to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Richard Mitchell (SenseiRAM), Dustin Burg (SuperDunners), Alexander Sliwinski (Sli Xander)

Produced by Richard Mitchell

Music: Intro/Outro: "Electromooq" by Uma Floresta.

For fans: Xbox 360 Fancast Facebook group

X3F TV -- Points>Life: Racing is Puzzling

Each week, X3F tips gamers to the tricks of the trade of Achievement hording in Points>Life. Every week a new achievement is unlocked to help you continue your unhealthy obsession with the Xbox 360 meta-game.

This week for Points>Life we're taking a look at four achievements in Project Gotham Racing 4. Each achievement is a puzzle that needs to be solved, and we've gone ahead and solved them for you. Looking for a fun street racing title and need a few extra points in your pocket? Take a stab at PGR4!

In order to successfully complete these achievements you'll need to make sure your settings are all correct. So, jump inside for all the details.

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Continue reading X3F TV -- Points>Life: Racing is Puzzling

A History of Violence: Ninja Gaiden Retrospective

Twenty years ago a gaming icon was born. A ninja. Originally unknown to the world, gamers everywhere now know him as Ryu Hayabusa--star of today's hottest new release Ninja Gaiden II.

As the warrior Ryu steps into the shadows never to return again, we look back at his origins and humble beginnings. From the arcade, a brief stint at Sega, his wonder years at Nintendo and the new generation of HD-limb separating on the Xbox 360. This is his legacy, his legend, his history of violence.

Jump in and read the history of the videogame industry's favorite ultimate ninja!

X3F Interview: Load Inc.'s Denis Bourdain

Coming soon from developer Load Inc. and publisher Southpeak is Things on Wheels, an RC racer for the Xbox Live Arcade that invokes memories of the classic, ReVolt. Hot off the heels of developing and releasing Mad Tracks for the Arcade, Load Inc. has been hard at work on their latest vision of fast-and-fun arcade racing.

In an exclusive interview with business developer Denis Bourdain of Load Inc., we discuss the inspiration and process of creating a new racer for the XBLA, the recent delisting controversy and the problem with retail in international markets.

Jump inside and fasten your seatbelt for the exclusive interview with Load Inc.'s Denis Bourdain.

Gallery: Things on Wheels (XBLA)

Continue reading X3F Interview: Load Inc.'s Denis Bourdain

2008 Yearbook: Microsoft Game Studios

After a solid year for the Xbox 360 in 2007 many thought the system could never showcase the same amount of quality exclusives in a single year.

In the 2008 Microsoft Game Studios Yearbook, we've compiled a list of this year's graduating class with a detailed account of each title's current status and the stories surrounding them.

From heartbreaking cancellations, surprise feature announcements and expected sequels, the 2008 MGS Yearbook is filled with fun facts and information on your soon-to-be favorite titles. Also included in the yearbook are special joke awards given to each title that releases in 2008 that poke fun at the details most commonly argued about in the comments.

From Ninja Gaiden II to Alan Wake, the 2008 Microsoft Game Studios Yearbook will have something for everyone.

Ladies and gentlemen allow us to introduce the 2008 Microsoft Game Studios graduating class ...

X3F Impressions - Too Human

Too Human is a strange beast. The futuristic Norse dungeon crawler is planned to have a massive story with trilogy spanning themes and complexities. In listening to Dennis Dyack talk at the event, he seemed genuinely enthusiastic as he discussed his favorite pop culture sci-fi and fantasy sagas (he's a big Battlestar Galactica fan).

While the game's potential quality without the vaunted four-player co-op is debatable, the underlying mechanics really aren't. Too Human's ability to feed the player with loot while keeping them engaged and responding to the battle conditions and leveling up is well-tuned and feels similar to the Dreamcast's Phantasy Star Online games.

Continue reading X3F Impressions - Too Human

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