Halo 4 "Scanned" Trailer

343 Industries has released the latest live-action trailer for Halo 4.  "Scanned" shows a captured Master Chief being "interrogated by the new enemy faction, the Prometheans.

As the Chief's mind is probed, we get a glimpse into his past as he was a young boy who was abducted and put into the SPARTAN program.  We see the surgical upgrades he received and that not all Spartans survived the process.  The Chief then receives his MJOLNIR armor which up until this point, we've never seen him out of.

While we may never get a live-action Halo movie, this and the Forward Unto Dawn web series almost fill that void.  But, after the disappointing mess that was District 9 (the spiritual successor to the Halo movie project), I'm not sure we want Hollywood getting their hands on the franchise.

There's only a few more weeks until Halo 4 is released.  Get ready!

Xbox Live: MyAcheivements

Xbox Live has rolled out another addition to their Xbox Live Rewards program.  Called MyAcheivements, the system rewards players based on the once pointless Gamerscore.  There are currently three ranks to be earned with each rank giving another award and rewards to players.

Contender is unlocked at 3000 Gamerscore and awards a "special gift" during the player's birthday month.  This special gift has been confirmed by many to be 20 Microsoft Points.  Four birthdays will net you enough points to buy your avatar a shirt.  Still, it's better than nothing and you can't say that Microsoft never got you anything for your birthday.

Champion is unlocked at 10,000 Gamerscore and in addition to the birthday gift, players get a 1% rebate on Xbox Live Marketplace purchases every month.

Legend is the third and final tier and is unlocked at 25,000 Gamerscore.  Players retain their birthday gift and see an increase in the rebate for Xbox Live Marketplace purchases from 1% to 2%.

While it's not much, there's at least some incentive to build Gamerscore.

Halloween comes to TERA

Any successful MMORPG has truly great holiday events.  The one event I always look forward to, year after year, is Halloween.  From City of Heroes' zombie apocalypse taking the streets of Paragon City to World of Warcraft's worldwide decorations and the Headless Horseman storming Scarlet Monastery, Halloween proves time and again that it only makes games better.

Now it's TERA's turn and they've pulled out all the stops.  From October 23rd through November 5th, players can collect Halloween candy baskets and cake for a chance to win limited-time Halloween costume items.

Players that log on will receive a free Trick-or-Treat Mystery Box.  The box contains a variety of items, including: NPC summoning scrolls, masks, and Halloween-themed rare items.

Players can also throw pies at Gourdo, a floating pumpkin-headed spirit.  Pumpkin pies drop from monsters, with BAMs dropping more.  Throw the pies at Gourdo and receive a Halloween Candy Basket.  The candy basket also contains Halloween masks.

The third and final event is calld "Protect the Candy".  Talking to Ellonia in any city will warp players to Eldritch Academy where they can talk to Titiana who will warp them to the Festival Hall.  Once players have completed the dungeon, they're receive a pair of Halloween Glasses and a Halloween Cake.  The cake contains all manner of items, but the one everyone will be working for is the Boneshaker Mount.  The dungeon can be run up to five times daily.  those that want to save time and want to invest money instead can purchase the Boneshaker Mount for one character for $14.95 or for all their characters for $24.95.

Players can also purchase Halloween-themed masks for $9.99 each in the EnMasse store. They include masquerade masks, bat hairbands, the Frankenhat, and the Ailuri Giantkiller Mask.

It's been some time since I've played TERA, but this is a fantastic way to get back into the swing of things.

Mass Effect 3: Omega

I know!  Another Mass Effect post?  Seriously!?  Blame the folks at BioWare for continually pumping out such stellar content.

Mass Effect 3: Omega comes out November 28th on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 (November 28th in Europe).  It looks like the queen of the galaxy's underworld, Aria, is going to reclaim Omega from Cerberus.  It's been a long time coming, and this is one of the most anticipated chapters in the Mass Effect saga.  It may be the most fan requested DLC.

While I didn't necessarily see eye-to-eye with Aria, she never attempted to screw over Shepard, which went a long way in a game where nearly every NPC had an ulterior motive.  And it will be nice to curb-stomp some more Cerberus forces.

Omega will sell for $14.99 or 1200 MS Points

Official Site

Mass Effect 3 Gets a Watch?

Every gamer knows that time tends to disappear in large quantities every now and then.  This is especially true for the utterly fantastic Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.  Now 500 fans can get their hands on this extremely limited edition N7 Ambassador watch.  That is, if they're willing to shell out $475 for it.

The watch is manufactured by independently-owned watch maker, Meister Watches.  It features:
  • Black stainless steel bezel and band composed of 316L NASA grade steel
  • Individually numbered laser etched backcase with N7 and Mass Effect logos
  • Carbon fiver face with a "rugged" 15mm thickness
  • Swiss movement
  • Water resistance up to 100m
  • Date display
  • Two year warranty
Now I don't wear a watch myself, and while I can appreciate this well crafted Mass Effect themed piece, I can't imagine many folks willing to part with $475 for a watch.  I was tempted when I saw $150, but after realizing that was just the deposit, I cringed.  It may be a fine watch, but I have a hard time believing it is worth nearly $500.  Those who aren't as cheap as me can order theirs now and expect the watch to ship mid-December of this year.

Rusty Hearts Gets Reborn!

Action MMORPG, Rusty Hearts, sees its first major expansion.  Read my impression at GamingClimax.com!

App of the Week: Game News Now

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Game News Now is the best gaming news aggregator for Windows Phone.  Pulling stories from such sources as Joystiq, 1UP, IGN, GameInformer, Kotaku, and more, GNN makes it quick and easy to stay up-to-date on the gaming world.  Stories can be collected based on search terms, platform, or both.  Only want to know what's going on with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Windows Phone?  Done!  Want to get a sample of news for all platforms from only IGN and GameInformer?  Easy.  Stories are loaded in a preview consisting of a few paragraphs with an option to load the whole story, view on the original site, or post the story to Facebook or Twitter.

With so few decent news apps on Windows Phone and virtually no apps for gaming news, Gaming News Now has become an invaluable tool in getting my gaming news fix.  It's a must have for any Windows Phone-owning gamer.

Mass Effect 3: Retaliation

Mass Effect 3 is set to get it's biggest free update with Retaliation.  Retaliation is free DLC for the multiplayer mode and goes live Tuesday, October 9th (October 10th for PS3 in Europe).

The Collectors have joined the fight as a new enemy faction.  Their forces consist of the Praetorian, Scion, Abomination, Trooper, and Captain.  The Geth have also bolstered their ranks with new Drones and Cerberus has enlisted the Dragoon.

Players get to take the Turian Havoc Soldier and Turian Ghost Infiltrator into battle with the promise of more classes being added on a regular basis.  Collector weapons including the assault rifle, sub-machine gun, and sniper rifle have also been added.  In addition, all weapons are getting new ammo modifications and armor is seeing several unique upgrades.

Retaliation also features a new Challenge database.  This database tracks in-game statistics, such as weapon usage.  Players earn challenge points by completing mini-goals such as accumulating 140,000 points while using the Typhoon rewards the player with 10 challenge points.  These points are used to unlock in-game bonuses such as titles and banners.

Official announcement

Release Calendar: October 2012

October 01:
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time  (PS3)

October 02:
War of the Roses  (PC)
NBA2K13  (PSP, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)
NiGHTS into Dreams  (PS3)
Resident Evil 6  (360, PS3)

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan

After releasing hordes of free multiplayer DLC, BioWare has graced players with more content for the single player game.  Released on August 28, 2012 at a cost of 800MS Points ($10), Leviathan promised to take players to the darkest corners of the galaxy in the hunt of a weapon strong enough to kill a reaper.

Taking place during the main campaign, Shepard receives a message from Admiral Hackett that an Alliance researcher by the name of Dr. Bryson has uncovered information about the Reapers that could turn the tide of the war.  After arriving on the Citadel, Commander Shepard discovers that Dr. Bryson is the equivalent of a cryptozoologist.  This kicks off a series of missions spanning the far corners of the galaxy searching for the Leviathan, a creature rumored to be able to kill a reaper.

The additional content only takes a few hours to complete and spans a series of 10 missions in all.  It adds in some of the newer aspects of multiplayer like escorting a drone and transporting a backpack full of goods to points on the map.  Leviathan takes place in only a few different worlds.  There's the standard lab on an asteroid, a planet with rocky terrain, and of course The Citadel.  But the real treat is the water-planet 2181 Despoina.  It is an oceanic graveyard of ships.  The depressed and desperate atmosphere combined with the violent visuals of the encroaching storm make this world unique in a galaxy filled with strange and exiting locations.

Ultimately Shepard learns the origins of the Reapers and gains powerful allies in his quest to save the galaxy. But, this reduces the Leviathan DLC to just another quest to gain a faction.  This type of quest makes up the majority of Mass Effect 3.  It's a fun journey, much like the entire campaign, but when I realized it was just more of the same, I was a bit let down.  The climax isn't all that surprising and taints the entire experience.  It's a nice addition for lore hounds, and honestly that should be almost everyone that has played this trilogy.  But for those that aren't as obsessed, Leviathan can be skipped without any serious repercussions.