Daily updates on video games and popular culture, along with Australia’s grooviest gaming podcast.



New Media 31

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Sunday 12 June 2011Comments Off


Presented in glorious alphabetical order, New Media: Retail Roundup is your indispensible checklist of the home console and handheld titles arriving in stores this week. What will you be playing?

MICROSOFT XBOX 360 Alice: Madness Returns * Child of Eden * Dungeon Siege III * Kung-Fu Panda 2

NINTENDO Wii Kung-Fu Panda 2 * Remington Super Slam Hunting: Africa * Remington Super Slam Hunting: North America 3DS Sudoku: The Puzzle Game Collection DS Kung-Fu Panda 2

SONY PLAYSTATION 3 Alice: Madness Returns * Ape Escape * Dungeon Siege III * Kung-Fu Panda 2 PSP Nothing

VARIOUS PC Alice: Madness Returns * Dungeon Siege III


New Media: Downloadable Digest is your handy reminder of the new downloadable titles released during the past week.

MICROSOFT XBLA Nothing

NINTENDO WiiWARE Nothing 3DS 3D Classics Excitebike * Pokédex DSiWARE Nothing

SONY PSN Beyond Good & Evil HD PSP MINIS Ninjamurai

VALVE STEAM Duke Nukem Forever * Elizabeth Find MD: Diagnosis Mystery Season 2 * Jamestown * Pride of Nations * Red Faction: Armageddon * Storm: Frontline Nation * Vertex Dispenser

Recent instalments of New Media: 05.06.11 l 29.05.11 l 22.05.11 l 15.05.11 l 08.05.11



The Black List 92

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Saturday 11 June 2011Comments Off


Welcome to The Black List, your one stop shop for the stories published on the site this week.

MONDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Payday: The Heist > Are you struggling to make ends meet? Do you find it difficult to meet new people? Why not kill two birds (and a bunch of innocent bystanders) with one stone by holding up a bank? If you’re not entirely sold on the idea, you can take your new lifestyle for a test drive in forthcoming first person shooter Payday: The Heist. READ MORE

TUESDAY NEWS FEATURE Microsoft @ E3 > Microsoft has revealed that 343 Industries is working on Halo 4. While recent instalments in the series such as Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach have introduced fresh protagonists, this 2012 release will restore the enigmatic Master Chief to centre stage. Promoted as the first chapter in a new trilogy, the game will also see the return of fan favourite holographic handler Cortana. It remains to be seen whether established alien species such as the Covenant and the Flood will be replaced by a new threat. With series creator Bungie no longer at the helm, Halo 4 represents a big test for the franchise. READ MORE

WEDNESDAY NEWS FEATURE Sony @ E3 > Sony’s San Diego Studios is collaborating with Idol Minds on arguably the most intriguing project announced to date for the PSVita. Ruin (working title) is a colourful fantasy dungeon crawler in the Diablo mould and, at first glance, it doesn’t appear to offer much in the way of innovation. However, the game does boast one rather interesting feature. Players will be able to save their progress to the cloud and transfer the action to their home consoles. Ruin will apparently look, feel and play identically on both the PSVita and PS3. If this title is a success, we’ll no doubt see this form of seamless cross platform connectivity become commonplace in the years to come. READ MORE

THURSDAY NEWS FEATURE Nintendo @ E3 > Gamers pining for Nintendo to adopt a more orthodox name for its latest creation have had their wishes cruelly swept aside. The successor to Nintendo’s most successful home console will be known as the Wii U. A day after Sony upped the ante in the control scheme arms race with the PSVita, Nintendo has followed suit. As rumoured, the Wii U will utilise a tablet style controller with a 6.2 inch touch screen designed to accommodate finger or stylus. It will also feature internal motion sensors, an inwards facing camera and rumble functionality. Web browsing and video calls will be supported. With its twin thumb sticks, dual triggers, d-pad and face buttons, the controller also appears to be suitable for more traditional games. READ MORE

FRIDAY NEWS FEATURE 3rd Parties @ E3 > Publisher EA has teamed with Insomniac Games to announce an entirely new property. Overstrike is an original sci-fi action game with a strong focus on cooperative play and an offbeat art style reminiscent of recent Splash Damage release Brink. As one of four stylish but deadly agents, players will be striving to eliminate a sinister cabal hell-bent on ending humanity’s reign. While Insomniac is best known its work on PlayStation exclusive franchises Ratchet and Clank and Resistance, Overstrike will be coming to both 360 and PS3. A release date is yet to be announced. READ MORE

Recent instalments of The Black List: 04.06.11 l 28.05.11 l 21.05.11 l 14.05.11 l 07.05.11


3rd Parties @ E3

Posted by Erin Marcon On Friday 10 June 2011Comments Off

Microsoft @ E3 l Sony @ E3 l Nintendo @E3 l 3rd Parties @ E3 l Podcast

Now that we’ve seen what Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have to offer, it’s time to take a look at the most interesting announcements from the remaining publishers. These are the third party games that weren’t covered at the platform holders’ press events and each was unveiled for the first time at E3 2011.

Publisher EA has teamed with Insomniac Games to announce an entirely new property. Overstrike is an original sci-fi action game with a strong focus on cooperative play and an offbeat art style reminiscent of recent Splash Damage release Brink. As one of four stylish but deadly agents, players will be striving to eliminate a sinister cabal hell-bent on ending humanity’s reign. While Insomniac is best known its work on PlayStation exclusive franchises Ratchet and Clank and Resistance, Overstrike will be coming to both 360 and PS3. A release date is yet to be announced.

Ubisoft has made a major splash at this year’s conference, announcing several new titles, none more exciting than blockbuster fitness sequel Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012. The preceding statement is a lie. The prolific French publisher also unveiled Far Cry 3. While the most recent instalment in the series of open world shooters transferred the action to Africa, the latest game will take place on a tropical island, just as the original did. Far Cry 3 is due for release on 360, PS3 and PC in 2012.

Ubisoft will also publish Gearbox Software’s World War II shooter Brothers in Arms: Furious 4. The more sombre tone of the series has seemingly been ditched in favour of sadistic cartoon violence plainly inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s recent cinematic hit Inglourious Basterds. Look for it on 360, PS3 and PC in the first half of 2012. In marginally less troubling news, Kinect titles Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking and Motorsports Adrenalin are due to arrive in Q4 2011, with the latter also coming to the Move.

Namco Bandai has shocked (SHOCKED!) the gaming world by announcing that a new Ridge Racer title is in development for the PSVita. While a release date hasn’t been announced, it’s worth remembering that the drift racing series has been present at the launch of each of Sony’s home and handheld systems. Namco Bandai is also working to bring a HD version of classic PS2 fighter Tekken Tag Tournament to the PS3 in November. Finally, the critical mauling handed out to the Wii version of Pac-Man Party hasn’t dissuaded the publisher from dragging its long suffering mascot back into the spotlight. A new edition of Pac-Man Party (cleverly dubbed Pac-Man Party 3D) is in the works for the 3DS.

Tecmo Keoi has promised to bring a new instalment of its long running Dynasty Warriors franchise to PSVita.

Troubled publisher UTV Ignition has taken a break from discussing its financial woes for long enough to announce a handful of new games. A side-scrolling fantasy action game in the tradition of Golden Axe, Dragon’s Crown features one character design so shamelessly exploitative that it borders on the misogynistic. (Picture a wafer thin model with two basketballs strapped to her chest.) Odin Sphere developer Vanillaware is preparing this one for release on PS3 and PSVita. Avoid it in 2012. In more encouraging news, the publisher has clearly taken a liking to Nintendo’s nascent 3DS handheld, not to mention games with “3” and “D” in their titles. UTV is bringing Fractured Soul 3D to the system in early 2012. This sci-fi action platformer is designed to make full use of the system’s twin screens. Also on the cards is interstellar RPG Planet Crashers 3D.

Konami is repackaging Hideo Kojima’s back catalogue for a new generation of gamers to enjoy in high definition. The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection will feature PS2 hits Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater, as well as recent PSP release Peace Walker. The original Metal Gear Solid will sadly be absent from the anthology when it arrives on 360 and PS3 in November. The PS3 version of Peace Walker will also be available as a standalone product. Next year will see the release of the Zone of the Enders HD Collection. Both titles in the futuristic action series will be included in the package. The publisher also announced that it will bring a Zombie Apocalypse sequel to XBLA and PSN in spring.

Proving that it can indeed look beyond sequels and remakes, Konami has also announced a pair of original downloadable games. Surreal puzzle platformer Puddle, which began life as a student project, will be coming to XBLA and PSN later this year. The other game has been saddled with the working title Leedmees and looks to be a variation on Lemmings. A winter release, Leedmees will challenge players to lead their flock to safety using Kinect gestures.

Finally, 505 Games and Zombie Studios are working on what is likely the most controversial game of the show. Kinect controlled first person shooter Blackwater sees players enlist with the notorious real world mercenary outfit (sorry, private security firm) of the same name. Blackwater is expected in spring 2011.

Well, that’s E3 done and dusted for another year. Are you looking forward to a new IP from Insomniac? What do you think of the decision to return Far Cry to the tropics? Let us know what you think of the third party offerings at this year’s show.

Microsoft @ E3 l Sony @ E3 l Nintendo @E3 l 3rd Parties @ E3 l Podcast


Nintendo @ E3

Posted by Erin Marcon On Thursday 9 June 2011Comments Off

Microsoft @ E3 l Sony @ E3 l Nintendo @E3 l 3rd Parties @ E3 l Podcast

Here’s a roundup of the announcements from Nintendo’s main E3 press conference and the flurry of events that have followed.

Gamers pining for Nintendo to adopt a more orthodox name for its latest creation have had their wishes cruelly swept aside. The successor to Nintendo’s most successful home console will be known as the Wii U. A day after Sony upped the ante in the control scheme arms race with the PSVita, Nintendo has followed suit. As rumoured, the Wii U will utilise a tablet style controller with a 6.2 inch touch screen designed to accommodate finger or stylus. It will also feature internal motion sensors, an inwards facing camera and rumble functionality. Web browsing and video calls will be supported. With its twin thumb sticks, dual triggers, d-pad and face buttons, the controller also appears to be suitable for more traditional games. As expected, the new unit features high definition graphics and is backwards compatible with the Wii and its controllers.

While Nintendo has verbally confirmed that a new iteration of Super Smash Bros. is in the works for the Wii U, there have been precious few first party announcements. The platform holder has instead relied on tech demos to sell the concept to gamers. Conference goers have witnessed a more realistic rendition of The Legend of Zelda. Link clashed with a gargantuan spider as the player selected weapons from a menu on the controller’s touch screen. Nintendo also showcased an experience dubbed New Super Mario Bros. Mii, a colourful side-scrolling platformer that allows players to import their Mii avatars into the Mushroom Kingdom. Certain releases will permit players to seamlessly continue with the same game on their touch screens even after their televisions have been switched to other channel.

The potential benefits of the system and its controller have been further illustrated in a series of mini-game demonstrations. Chase Mii challenged one player to evade capture by darting through a maze displayed on the touch screen. Meanwhile, up to four others equipped with Wii Remotes, pursued via a split screen interface on the television. Battle Mii followed similar principles, but allowed players to shoot one another. Both were somewhat reminiscent of Pac-Man Vs., a 2003 release that required multiple players with GameCube controllers to take on one player with a Game Boy Advance. The final game, Shield Pose, tasked players with deflecting arrows launched from pirate ships. One of the enemy ships was displayed on the television, but in order to spot the other two, the player had to scan the horizon to the left and right by using the controller and its screen as if were a telescope. Though no announcements to this effect were made at the conference, it seems possible that these bite-sized gaming experiences will end up in a Wii Play style collection.

While Nintendo was arguably playing its cards a little too close to its chest, it has released a ‘sizzle reel’ of third party titles expected to arrive on the Wii U. While Nintendo has spent much of the past five years courting the casual market, all of these titles appear aimed squarely at the dedicated gamer. Highlighted titles included fantasy action epic Darksiders II and moody first person shooter Metro: Last Light, both from THQ. Codemasters is bringing rally franchise Dirt to the console, while Tecmo Koei is readying bloody action game Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Namco Bandai is set to support the console with a Tekken release. With regard to the latter, it appears that players will be able to customise the appearance of their characters using the Wii U’s drawing functionality.

While the third party vision was impressive, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has since confirmed to GameTrailers that that it wasn’t produced using the Wii U. Fils-Aime attributed the decision to employ 360 and PS3 footage to the fact that final Wii U hardware is still “a year away”.

Tactical shooter Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online was the solitary Ubisoft title featured in the Wii U reel. However, as reported by 1UP, the French publisher has since teamed with Nintendo to announce four more games for the system. The deliriously titled Killer Freaks From Outer Space is a first person shooter with a b-movie aesthetic. Other Ubisoft games in the pipeline include versions of Assassin’s Creed and Raving Rabbids, though it isn’t yet clear if these will be new games or ports. The publisher is also working on an untitled sports game.

While the announcement of new hardware will always gobble up the lion’s share of press attention, Nintendo was also keen to support its existing systems with new software. The long wait for the gorgeous looking The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will end this holiday season. Mini game collection Mario Party 9 will be coming to the Wii, as will Kirby Wii, a new 2D platformer starring everyone’s favourite pink… thing.  Also on the way to the almost superseded console is Fortune Street, a bizarre stock market themed board game from Square Enix that brings the Mario and Dragon Quest franchises together. Look for this one to receive a holiday 2011 release. Spring will see the arrival of Namco Bandai’s sports themed mini game collection Go Vacation, while Ubisoft’s Just Dance 3 is expected in October. Though a release date is yet to be announced, Nintendo confirmed that diabolically challenging music franchise Rhythm Heaven will also be making its first appearance on the console. The platform holder also took the time to promote SEGA’s Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Anyone interested in seeing a hedgehog ride a horse should probably check this out.

After four relatively barren months in terms of software, the Nintendo 3DS has also received some much needed love from its publisher. One of the more exciting moments of the presentation, at least for GameCube tragic like the staff of The Black Panel, was the announcement that work has commenced on a sequel to decade old ghost hunting adventure Luigi’s Mansion. Anyone hoping for Nintendo to furnish the 3DS with some original IP would be sorely disappointed, unless, that is, they happened to check the list of forthcoming eShop titles. The Rolling Western is a frenetic looking action platformer with tower defence elements and a cowboy hat wearing armadillo as protagonist. Meanwhile, Picture Lives allows players to illustrate their own characters and environments and may appeal to fans of Drawn to Life or Dood’s Big Adventure.

A number of long mooted titles were confirmed to be in the works for the 3DS, including Animal Crossing and Paper Mario. Furthermore, previously announced games like Super Mario, Kid Icarus Uprising and Mario Kart have been assigned holiday 2011 release dates, while Tetris and Star Fox 64 3D are expected in September and October of this year respectively.

Even the humble DS hasn’t been left out in the cold, with Nintendo announcing Kirby Mass Attack, an intriguing hybrid of platforming and real time strategy. Other titles on the way for the six year old handheld include Professor Layton and the Last Specter from Nintendo, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 from Square Enix and Super Fossil Fighters from Red Entertainment.

So there you have it! Fascinated by the Wii U? Troubled by the dearth of software announced to support it? Let us know what you think of Nintendo’s offerings at this year’s show.

Microsoft @ E3 l Sony @ E3 l Nintendo @E3 l 3rd Parties @ E3 l Podcast