Test Drive Unlimited

Test Drive Unlimited

While few would say that Project Gotham Racing disappointed when it comes to graphics, by all accounts it’s looking like Test Drive Unlimited will be raising the bar a bit when it’s released this June. Whether it’ll beat PGR in terms of gameplay remains to be seen, but the proposed online world of street racing and other tomfoolery on 1,000 miles of digitally reproduced Hawaiian roads certainly sounds intriguing.

TeamXbox has more info on the game, and XBOXYDE, as usual, has a ton of gorgeous screens.

Thanks to Stickee for the heads up on the new pics.

Another Abstract Japanese Game – Odama

Odama

Like the (similarly named) Okami I discussed yesterday, Odama is another somewhat abstract Japanese game. However, it has almost nothing in common with yesterday’s cell-shaded flower-power wolf. Odama, you see, is a real-time strategy pinball game. That’s a weird mix of genres you don’t see… ever, and frankly aren’t too likely to ever see again. The game is the brainchild of Yoot Saito, the guy behind Sega’s brilliantly bizarre Seaman (better known as “That Weird Game Where a Fish Turns Into Leonard Nimoy”).

Eurogamer has a somewhat unflattering review that still makes this particular weird game sound rather intriguing. It ships on 4/10 here in the US.

GTI Racing Demo

GTI Racing

GTI Racing is an upcoming racing game from Techland that uses the XPand Rally physics engine. Despite those roots, when I spoke with the developers of this game at last year’s E3 they were quite transparent about having tweaked the physics engine quite a bit to make it more “fun.” This, of course, means less realism, and I can’t say as I found it too much fun myself, but you may feel differently, and here’s your chance to find out.

That said, we all know how fanatical VW owners are, and if you’re one of them this’ll give you a chance to test the limits of a variety of GTIs and other hot VW’s… all without having to worry about broken window regulators.

Blue’s News has links to a variety of places to make with the downloading. Expect this one to drop later this year.

Hands-On with New Super Mario Bros.

New Super Mario Bros.

While not the most innovatively named game of the summer, New Super Mario Bros. is definitely high up on my anticipation list, and Shacknews managed to get their hands on with the 2-D 3-D wundergame for the DS.

New Super Mario Bros.’ basic gameplay mechanics are what one would expect. You play as Mario (or Luigi!), traversing endlessly to the right, in classic 2D platforming style. The growth mushrooms are there, as are fire flowers, as well as a new blue shell powerup that works like that statue form of the tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3. There’s the aforementioned giant mushroom, and by the same token there is a miniaturizing mushroom that shrinks Mario down to a few pixels in height. Items can be saved and selected from the touch screen. But New Super Mario Bros. doesn’t just add new items; Mario is outfitted with some new moves drawing from his 3D adventures. For example, when in the air, he can slam straight down with a butt stomp. He can also perform a Prince of Persia-like wall jump allowing him to reach particularly high areas.

Shacknews

New Okami Screens

Okami

GameSpot has some new screens of what should be a brilliant… actiony sort of game.

GameSpot

Okami was one of those games at E3 last year where you couldn’t help but just stand there and try to figure out what the heck it was all about. In it you play as a sort of cell-shaded mysterious wolf, and as you run you trail brilliant flowers that fly into the air behind you. You’ll jump and attack and defeat enemies, but given the art style that looks as if you can see the ink dripping down the screen, it’ll obviously be as much of an experience as a game.

Okami isn’t due into the 3rd quarter of this year and looks like it’ll be one of the last great games on the PS2.

PSP Fails at (Movie Playing) Life

Surprising just about nobody (except perhaps Sony), sales of Sony’s “Not as good as a DVD but just as expensive and can only be played on the PSP” UMD’s have been pretty miserable. Now, movie studios are ceasing production, and it seems Wal-Mart is going to stop stocking them. Other retailers will surely follow.

Disappointing sales have slowed the flow of movies on the proprietary Universal Media Disc to a mere trickle. At least two major studios have completely stopped releasing movies on UMD, while others are either toying with the idea or drastically cutting back.

And retailers also are shrinking the amount of shelf space they’ve been devoting to UMD movies, amid talk that Wal-Mart is about to dump the category entirely.

GameCloud

On the other hand there’s been a lot of talk about a second-generation PSP, with loads of internal storage and maybe even a second analog stick. One thing’s for sure – if it plays movies, they’ll be downloaded ones.

IGN Has the Scoop on Revolution Hardware?

So they say at least.

For today’s report we spoke to a variety of trusted development sources, all of whom are in possession of Revolution development hardware – some more finalized than others. The studios who updated us with this information have asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, but we can verify that the specifications forwarded to us are current and come by way of either official Nintendo documentation or benchmark tests with working Revolution kits.

revolution.ign.com

It’s quite likely that these are correct, and if so, it bodes reasonably well for the little box. While the specs stack up more or less directly with the Xbox, remember that PowerPC chips were always capable of better performance than their Intel counterparts of the same clock speed. For this reason, I’m expecting the Revolution to slot in nicely between the original GameCube and Xbox 360 in terms of visual abilities.

However, it must be said that 88 megs of total system RAM is pretty pathetic. RAM is so cheap these days that, for them to be cutting it this close on memory one wonders just how much they’ll be under-cutting the competition in terms of price…