It has been on the tip of Playstation owners’ tongues for a few years now, anticipation would be an understatement in many cases, rapid longing might perhaps more suitable but perhaps still lacking. Then, as is the case with any title that gets wide exposure, there are the haters. One of these two groups is going to be pretty chuffed, Killzone 2 is anything but average.

Everything starts with an impressive introduction video which is played immediately after you slip in the disc. An emotive speech by the Helgahn leader Scolar Visari is being broadcast by the ISA news program that is being viewed by some marines in a vessel on its way to battle the enemy on it’s home planet. Immediately clear from this video is the strange difference in appeal in the way that the two combating sides are presented.

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In this podcast we added a little game, every time GaR offends some particular group of people we get you to resurrect a dead puppy*, then every time an unintentional double entendre slips out you get 12 points.

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This week we talk about the overpricing of games and the inability of developers to make a good Vampire game.

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*Dead puppies can be picked up from GaR’s house for those wishing to participate.

ButtonMasher has learned that EB Games (a division of US games retailing-giant GameStop) will not be stocking the House of the Dead: Overkill “Bang Bang Box” set which will release in February as an Australian and New Zealand exclusive. This is believed to be due to contents of the graphic novel that is packaged with the collector’s edition. The directive has apparently come from EB Games Australia, so no EB stores in Australia or New Zealand will be stocking the boxed set. However we understand that the “hand cannons” will still be sold individually in stores, and the game itself will be stocked.

For once, this decision does not appear to be on the basis of archaic Australian censorship laws either. JB Hi-Fi and other retailers are intending on selling the boxed set. One would therefore presume that the graphic novel has therefore been granted classification from the appropriate bodies.

Somewhat ironically, the same graphic novel is the pre-order bonus for GameStop orders in the US. It carries the following warning: “This graphic novel is based on a Mature rated game. Content may be inappropriate for readers under 17”.

The Sega distributor for New Zealand has confirmed that the Bang Bang Box will be available to Kiwi gamers at JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith, and Mighty Ape. The game is due to release on February 20.

Click past the break to see what EB Games and Wii gamers in other regions are missing out on. So just what exactly is to be found in said graphic novel?

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The Maw is a new XBLA game created by indie developer Twisted Pixel Games starring a lovable purple alien. Maw is a purple transparent jellyfish-like creature with a big mouth and a matching appetite. Frank is another alien, who looks a little like that ant “Flik” from A Bug’s Life. No explanation is provided on how Frank and Maw come to be imprisoned on a spacecraft, but when this ship crash lands the two of them need to work together to survive as they continue to be pursued by their captors.

The game is a 3rd person platformer with strong puzzler elements, and you control Frank. Maw can be dragged along using an electric leash tied to Frank, who must lead Maw to food sources to allow him to grow as well as attain special abilities to enable them to advance through the game levels. In the style of Kirby, certain life forms when consumed with impart Maw with abilities such as flying, burning, electrifying, and use of laser guns. Each of the abilities gained is essential to allow access to new areas for progression through the game. At times it plays a little like Pikmin, and some of the aliens even look like Pikmin.

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In the gaming world New Zealand is often relegated to receive the leftovers that other counties might be getting. This means that Collectors editions are either the same or (as is often the case) missing important components. Sony have stepped up the game with their Pre-Order special for Killzone 2, and are producing an Australia/NZ specific collectors tin for the game.

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Inline with other regions we will be getting a Killzone 2 PS3 bundle, it will include the 80GB PS3 a DS3 Controller and of course the game all packaged in a KZ2 themed box.

Images of NZ/Aus specific tin and the PS3 Bundle are after the break.

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Edge have put together their estimates of the 60 Biggest Selling Games of the Last 12 Months, combining European and US sales data and estimates. Accurate figures are notoriously hard to come by, so the exact rankings of games on their list won’t necessarily mean too much, and it is worthwhile taking note that all the games on the list are deemed to be “million” sellers so could be seen as relatively successful in their own right depending on the title.

Wii Music comes in at #33, pipped by Kung Fu Panda at #32, which must surely have been helped by the Xbox 360 console bundle. I’m not entirely sure of the rationale behind the calculations though – Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures sits at #12 with 4 million sales but said “not to include bundles” (Kung Fu Panda’s 1.6 million does not carry the same statement).

Metal Gear Solid 4 features at #18 – somewhat surprisingly it was only one place ahead of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games for DS (the Wii version released in 2007). Both games are said to have sold about 2.5 million.

Click past the break to find out the what the top 10 games were – 3 Nintendo first party titles features in the top 10 so there is no doubt that their pockets will be well lined to face the tough economic times ahead.

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A new set of clothing has been released for avatars in the NXE. No All White tops for local fans, but the national strips for 18 European countries is now available for free. When you next sign into the avatar editor, any new clothing options will carry a gold star to denote that they have been added since your last sign in.

For a full list of available team shirts, click past the break.

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A post on the Banjo-Kazooie blog has set an April release date for Banjo-Tooie (the Nintendo 64 sequel to Banjo-Kazooie) to Xbox Live Arcade – the timing set to coincide with the other great Egg Hunt, Easter. New secrets are hinted at for the new release, as well as the implementation of the “Stop ‘n’ Swop” feature of the game which was unable to be realised on the N64 version due to console hardware revisions. Expect there to be connectivity to the other Banjo games for Xbox 360, which will unlock features, items or game areas.

Click past the break for another screenshot, or visit the Banjo blog for the four images released today.

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Square Enix has announced the US release date of 24 March for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, a game with the unique feature of allowing Wii and DS players to link up and play simultaneously – regardless of format. As the games are near identical on both formats, the Wii graphics will be sure to disappoint while the DS graphics will hold their own. A MRSP of USD $39.99 should make up for the graphics, as will the propect of being able to play with potentially a very large player pool.

The game is slated for a “Spring” release in Europe, but local fans will be sure to take advantage of the ability to import the game for the region-free DS. Full press release appears after the break.

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Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box is set to release next month, and a new Youtube trailer outlines what to expect in the repackaging. It would seem that all this new version adds, is all of the free DLC content available up until now, as well as the yet-to-be-priced “Party Pack” premium DLC also set to be released next month.

With an asking price of $129.95 (PS3) and $119.95 (Xbox 360), those with broadband access are almost certainly better off looking for a bargain priced copy of the original Burnout Paradise, and then adding the updates. The PC version is new addition to the family, and releases for $79.95.