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3 on 3 NHL Arcade Review

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Electronic Arts’ (EA) “NHL Hockey” franchise has always been stellar when compared to other professional hockey games. It’s rare that an NHL Hockey iteration doesn’t end-up as one the year’s best titles. So when a game like EA Canada’s “3 on 3 NHL Arcade” is released on the PlayStation Network (PSN) and on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), gamers tend to take notice and expect some sort of quality release.

Comparing 3 on 3 NHL Arcade to it NHL ’09 counterpart is like comparing apples to oranges, as both titles differ quite a bit from each other. NHL ’09 gravitates more towards the sports simulation genre, while 3 on 3 NHL Arcade is more or less a fast-paced, no holds barred, pick-up and play hockey title.

What truly makes 3 on 3 NHL Arcade unique in comparison to your standard hockey game is its arcade style gameplay. With 3 on 3 NHL Arcade, gamers can boost their players abilities by gaining special power-ups. These power-ups offer a wide variety advantages that range from a super slap shot to an uncanny speed boost. Gamers gain access to these power-ups by simply checking opposing players during gameplay.

Sounds fun right?

It’s hard to not be disappointed by the game’s content though. You only get to play as either the red or the blue team, and you end-up having the ability to choose four players from a meager 40 player NHL roster (mind you there’s only four goalies to choose from). It’s also important to note that there is no tournament or season play incorporated within 3 on 3 NHL Arcade, all you get is 3 on 3 gameplay. And to add to the disappointment, there is only one default rink available to play on. With this much variety, you can imagine how quickly things start getting mundane.

You know there’s something wrong when the full unlocked game doesn’t really offer that much in comparison to its demo. And to be honest, why would anyone want to purchase the full game when the just of the title can be experienced for free?

Visually, 3 on 3 NHL Arcade uses the same graphical engine that powers NHL ’09, with a little less polish of course. The ’09 engine ends-up pushing a game that not only plays fluently, but also looks fairly decent.

As much as the game can be enjoyable amongst friends, 3 on 3 NHL Arcade doesn’t offer any real replay value as a single player title. One has to wonder why the game wasn’t offered as an add-on to NHL ’09 instead. Gamers looking for a full hockey experience should definitely stay away from 3 on 3 NHL Arcade, and seriously consider shelling out an extra few dollars for NHL ’09 or NHL 2K9.

3 on 3 NHL Arcade is currently available on the PS3 and Xbox 360 for $9.99 (or 800 Microsoft points) through their respective distribution channels.

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Left 4 Dead Downloadable Content to be FREE

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The recently announced Left 4 Dead Downloadable Content (L4D DLC) will be delivered to Xbox 360 and PC gamers free of charge.

Due for release this spring, the DLC for 2008’s best-selling new game property on the PC and Xbox 360, is dubbed the L4D Survival Pack and introduces a new multiplayer game mode entitled, Survival, plus two complete campaigns for Versus Mode (Death Toll, Dead Air). A Critic’s Choice Edition of the game will be heading to retail stores this spring, and will include access to all the content introduced in the L4D: Survival Pack.

Left 4 Dead is a survival action game from Valve that blends the social entertainment experience of multiplayer games such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress with the dramatic, narrative experience made popular in single player action game classics such as the Half-Life series of games. Released in November of 2008, L4D has earned over 25 industry awards from outlets around the world.

For more information, please visit www.l4d.com.

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Minesweeper Comes to XBLA

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Great news! You don’t really need Microsoft’s Windows to enjoy “Minesweeper” anymore as TikGames unveiled “Minesweeper Flags!” for Xbox LIVE Arcade (XBLA). Here’s a brief blurb taken from the official press release.

Minesweeper Flags brings explosive excitement from your computer to Xbox LIVE Arcade! In this all-new take on the classic PC game, players can choose the Classic mode, where the beloved game is available in all of its glory, or revel in never-before-seen modes like single player Campaign, featuring over 100 non-square levels, or multiplayer Flags.

Minesweeper Flags has been rated “E” for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board for this platform, and is available now on XBLA for 400 Microsoft points.

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A Look at Burnout Paradise’s Party Pack

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Last week, Criterion released its latest downloadable content (DLC) for its constantly evolving arcade racer “Burnout Paradise“. The new content, dubbed Burnout Party, is Criterion’s first attempt at local multiplayer for Burnout Paradise. So how does this $10 (or 800 Microsoft points) DLC fair?

Burnout Party enables up to eight gamers to play amongst each other on a single television using one controller. How is that possible you ask? The concept is pretty simple, the game dishes out mini-game challenges that players must complete within a certain time frame or under specific conditions. When an attempt is completed, the gamer then passes the controller to the next player. After a round is completed, scores are tallied-up and posted on a leader board, the players move to the next challenge (up to eight rounds).

The challenges are fairly easy and will surely please every type of gamer, whether you’re casual or hardcore. The challenges range from racing through oncoming traffic to completing a double-barrel roll. The update features enough mini-games that gamers might start ignoring their Wii’s when friends come over. The add-on is even as exciting when playing with as little as two people.

The latest Burnout Paradise patch must be installed in order to play the Party Pack. Don’t worry, the patch is mandatory and you are automatically prompted to download it as soon as you launch the game. The new patch is well worth the download as it not only includes the highly touted race restart feature, but also comes with minor gameplay and graphical enhancements.

Sure this might not be the split screen gaming we’ve grown accustomed to with past Burnout iterations, but Burnout Party is a pretty decent replacement that is well worth its meager $10. Burnout Party is available on both PS3 and Xbox 360, and is also available within the “Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box” for the PC.

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Dead Rising 2 Officially Unveiled

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fter months of rumors and speculation, Capcom finally unveiled the long awaited “Dead Rising 2” for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. The sequel to 2006′ “Dead Rising” is being developed by Canadian developer Blue Castle Games along side series producer Keiji Inafune (who according to the press release, will play an active role in the project). Below is a cut from the press release:

Dead Rising 2 is set several years after the infamous zombie invasion of Willamette. Unfortunately, the zombie virus was not contained at the conclusion of Dead Rising, spreading unchecked throughout the United States and Dead Rising 2 depicts a country where zombie outbreaks continue to strike.

Dead Rising 2 will be set in a casino based in Fortune City, US.

No word yet on when the game is expected to be release. The press release notes that further details concerning the story and gameplay of Dead Rising 2 will be made available shortly.

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