May 042011

Apple made good on its promise to address the location tracking concerns of its users last week, as we discussed here.  This update claims only to do those things.

This update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache including

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs the cache up to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off

The update is available for all devices that can run iOS 4.

Hook up to iTunes and hit the update button.

May 042011

A bunch of recent news tidbits from console-land worth mentioning. First a few price drops. The Wii will be dropping to $150 and include Mario Kart with a wheel starting May 15th. Not all that surprising since it seems that the Wii has finally hit its ceiling after running away with the console sales race and all the news swirling around about the Wii 2. Not sure who was holding out on the Wii because of the price, but hey, cheaper stuff is good, right?

Secondly, you’d have to assume an Xbox 360 price drop is imminent, probably around E3 time, as many retailers, including Amazon are selling all flavors (including Kinect bundles) of the 360 with a [amazon_link id=”B003O6JLZ2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]$50 gift card as well as a $20 Microsoft point card[/amazon_link].

Not to leave Sony and the PS3 out, but PSN is still down, Sony Online Entertainment (MMO games division) was also hacked, with mostly non-US info and credit cards stolen. Don’t worry though, DC Universe Online players will get free Batman masks for their trouble. Most everything else in wait-and-see mode when PSN comes back online this week sometime. Don’t forget to change your password when it does come back.

Next up, I wanted to briefly mention the Red Faction: Armageddon demo up on XBL and eventually PSN at some point. After enjoying Red Faction: Guerrilla a bunch, I was eager to check out the direction Armageddon was going in. I hadn’t really followed much press coverage on it to this point, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The demo offers about 30 minutes of game play and retains a lot of the destructive abilities of the previous game. While Armageddon still is played from the third person, it takes a more over-the-shoulder perspective, like Gears of War, than Guerrilla’s Grand Theft Auto pulled-back style. Still, it seems to work pretty well. In the demo you get to use some unique weapons like the magnet gun and something that shoots mini-black holes. Also, there is a new gameplay mechanic in that you can actually repair some of your destruction, that kind of reminded me of the TMD from Singularity. It was really hard to get an overall feel for the game in the demo, but it seems like it will end up a bit less open-ended than Guerrilla. If nothing else, the demo left me interested enough to look and see what sales are available for the game’s preorders. [amazon_link id=”B003P9C6QY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazon is doing a $10 credit for a future THQ game[/amazon_link] (an unusual restriction for Amazon preorders) along with a free download of Red Faction: Battlegrounds; a top down car combat game that gets mediocre reviews. Amazon’s deal applies to the console versions only.

Our own Suibhne points me to this great video, related to Armageddon:

Last up, a deal for Portal 2 that can’t be passed up. [amazon_link id=”B002I0JIQW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazon is offering Portal 2[/amazon_link] for $30 on the PC and $35 on the consoles. A great price for one of the better games to come out this year so far.

May 042011

Mass Effect 2 has been out for well over a year now, but just last month, Bioware dropped some fresh DLC to supposedly bridge the gap between ME2 and ME3.  At the ME standard DLC price of $7, the question is, is it a piece of must-have content for a ME fan, filling in important story lines, or is it completely avoidable?  Probably more of the latter and less of the former.

Let me start off by saying this DLC mission can be played through in probably one and a half hours, so it’s one of the shorter DLCs available for ME2 — definitely shorter than the great Overlord or Lair of the Shadow Broker add-ons.  Without going into the story for the spoiler-sensitives amongst us, Arrival only provides a couple mission scenarios heavy on combat.  Expect lots of corridor shooting, with a few areas to explore a bit for some extra research items, credits and resources.  Did I mention a lot of shooting? You shoot lots of dudes…a lot. Some mechs too, and there’s a short but satisfying sequence where you can control your own LOKI Mech. It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll be fighting solo, you can’t bring any of your team along to help out, because the mission is super secret…or something.

The story is decent but not great, and doesn’t really feel like it’s critical to the story arc.  It makes sense and fits in with the end of ME2 and what we know about ME3, but didn’t feel all that important — more like a footnote. That’s probably the best approach, and true with all of the ME2 DLCs; totally avoidable to those who just want to play the main games, but offering more to those who just want more Mass Effect stuffs.

So, who should get this DLC?  If you’ve played the other DLCs and still want some more ME2 action to hold you over, then you’ll enjoy it enough.  It’s merely average, but you’ll be somewhat satisfied.  If I wanted to nitpick, I’d say it’s not really worth $7, it’s probably more like a $4 DLC if I had to put a value on it.  If you’re looking to take a look at some ME2 DLC for the first time, skip this one and take a look at the Overlord, Shadow Broker, or even Katsumi (if you’re looking for a new member and a new loyalty mission that’s actually pretty good) before this one.

The Arrival DLC is available on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 (when the PSN store comes back online) for $7. More info here.

Embeded below is the Arrival trailer: