I don’t often bother with news around here, so you know that when I do it’s something to get excited about. Valve announced today that a new downloadable campaign is being released for the original Left 4 Dead in September on PC and Xbox 360.

The best part for me is, and this is something that I’m really excited about in Left 4 Dead 2, is that this level bridges Mercy Hospital and Death Toll. Narrative! And here’s the obligitory movie poster in all its glory:

O Hell yea

O Hell yea

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be downloading this bad boy the day it’s released on Xbox Live. (for 560 Microsoft points of course)

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I mean seriously, look at the size of that thing

I mean seriously, look at the size of that thing

He look, it’s another game I got some hands on time with at Comic Con! This time we’re lookin at Darksiders and the lookin is good.

In Darksiders, you play as War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I’m not really sure what the story for this game is since i skipped the opening cut scene. There was a line behind me and I couldn’t really hear what they were saying anyway. Not the optimal conditions for a preview.

Anyway, Darksiders is an action platformer. You kill things with sword combos, and traverse the environment with jumping and climbing and even a tad bit of shimmying. For the most part I was combating apocalypse zombies, and they didn’t stand a chance against my big ass sword and the occasional punch thrown in there for good measure. Combat is easy and fun, with some pretty devastating combos. War does work.

A mini-boss reared its ugly head and I killed him too. It was some kind of bigger than me demon that I dispatched without too much effort, and once I wore its health down enough I was rewarded with a brutal quick time even a la God of War.

At this point I had been playing for about ten minutes and decided it was time to give someone else a turn with the game. I had fun with it. I feel like this game does a better job of separating itself from God of War than the similar Dante’s Inferno. The sword felt very different from Kratos’ signature Blades of Chaos, and the art style was flashier and more brightly colored (always a plus in these grim and gritty times). It still had quick time events, but at least the only time I had to do one was to stab a giant demon in the face, as opposed to opening a door.

Even though I had fun with this game, I’m still on the fence about buying it. There are a lot of good games coming out this fall (Brutal Legend, Left 4 Dead 2, Alpha Protocol) and I’m unsure whether this game will rise above to earn my purchase. That’s not to say I think it will be bad, other releases just have more of my attention. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one as it comes closer to its January release.

I make Wolverine cry

I make Wolverine cry

Prototype is a free roaming action game from Radical Entertainment, makers of The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and it shows. The two games are similar in that they give you a large city to roam around in as an incredibly powerful being. In this game, you’re Alex Mercer. You wake up in a morgue with super powers, and everything gets out of control shortly afterwords.

Prototype revolves around a series of 31 missions. They are punctuated by cut scenes that move the story forward, but lets face it, the cut scenes aren’t that great and the narrative suffers as a result. Luckily, there is more to the story than just whats going on in the here an now. The back story resolves around a government conspiracy that stretches all they back to the 1960’s and is revealed through the web of intrigue. To unveil pieces of the web you have to consume people with knowledge of what’s going on, and there are 130 of them wandering around. Each of them gives you a different cut scene that reveals a new tidbit of information. When I beat the game I only found a 97 of them and you better believe I’m not going to stop until I absorb every last one. It’s that good.

Besides the main story and the web of intrigue, there are side missions you can complete for evolution points, such as consuming a certain number of people in a set time, racing around the city, or blowing stuff up. They’re pretty fun for the most part and help to break up the main story.

Speaking of evolution points, Alex can unlock a lot of powers. I mean A LOT. So many that I didn’t even use all of them. One of the most most useful power sets is the movement powers. Moving around New York is fast and furious. Alex hops over cars, runs up buildings, and glides through the air. You can get from one side of the island to the next very rapidly. One of the other powers I really enjoyed was the sword arm. What else needs to be said? Your arm is a giant organic blade.

One of the things I didn’t enjoy about Prototype were the weird difficulty spikes. One minute you’ll be slaying hundreds of people, the next you’ll be wrecked by a boss battle. There were a few missions that had me spewing expletives, which is a rarity for me. It’s mad frustrating when you’re doing a mission or fighting a boss for the fifth or sixth time. Luckily, most missions do have checkpoints throughout, so death doesn’t mean you’ll have to restart from the beginning. Radical gets a few points for that smart move.

Another negative I hear brought up is the graphics in Prototype aren’t great. They’re not, but it’s OK. There are soldiers, infected, civilians, tanks, cars, and helicopters all on screen at once. Not to mention the explosions. With so much going on something had to take a hit, and it wasn’t the frame rate. You can be in the middle of a huge battle between the infected and the military and the frame rate is still rock solid. Even though this game isn’t much to look at, it is still technically impressive.

In game advertising. If not done well, it can be like nails on a chalkboard (lookin at you Axe body spray in Rainbow Six: Vegas). I saw a few posters for GameStop, the musical Jersey Boys, and even one for Panasonic. As the game rolled forward, I forgot all about them. Why? Because they all get covered up by military propaganda. “Support the Quarantine”, “We Are All Soldiers”, “A Cure is Coming”, and “America is Behind Us” are just a few. I thought this was pretty cool when I realized they did it.

I had a lot fun with Prototype. It’s got slick action, the web of intrigue, and a version of New York City under military quarantine. If you want a game that doesn’t hesitate to make you feel like the ultimate bad ass at every chance it can, then this should be right up your alley.