Starcraft fans rejoice, Blizzard have just fired up their beta for Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Remember also that Blizzard split the game up into two additional expansion packs; Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void.

Now if you didn’t register for the beta don’t feel too bad, not everyone who did register have received invitations yet (myself included). Though if you sign up at Battle.net you may make it into a later wave. Be prepared though, the minimum system requirements are a little high.

It does mean one thing though, Starcraft II’s release is definitely around the corner, they did say it was releasing this year didn’t they?

Heavy Rain, that’s pretty much how I would sum up this one. Perhaps a little MAG on the side, but lots of Heavy Rain. All spoiler free mind you.

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After a excellent period of Western RPG’s in the form of Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2 and to a lesser extent Bioshock 2, I was looking forward to delving back into the world of Japanese RPG’s. What with their angst ridden emo teenagers as lead characters coupled with, typically, bad English voice over’s there is something endearing to us hardcore RPG fans. Love ‘em or hate ‘em the JRPG’s are big money spinners with some big hitting franchises still trucking on. So how does one translate a typically epic game genre into a XBLA title?

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The clever folks at Sony have a new contest that has you constructing your very own origami bird. A secret code will be revealed to you if you follow the instructions correctly. The second part of the competition gets even more interesting. On the 26th of February you will be sent clues to locations in the four main city centres to find the whereabouts of some sweet Sony gear.

The main prize is getting to play Heavy Rain in a cinema in your town with 29 of your mates. A little weird but hey, it might give some of your non-gamer friends a chance to see the game in action. Other prizes include PS3’s, copies of Heavy Rain, Sony ericsson phones, Sony CyberShot S-Series cameras, MP3 Walkman B Series, Movie passes, blu-ray discs and music vouchers for bandit.fm.

Check out the PlayStation NZ page on Facebook to enter.

With a long legacy of high quality titles named [blank] Rain such as Vampire Rain, Chocolate Rain, and Blood, er, Rayne, Heavy Rain has some pretty big shoes to fill. Joking aside, Heavy Rain is the first game in a while (not including Fahrenheit, a long while,) to covet the notion of an interactive movie. It almost feels like the ‘interactive movie’ idea has become a dirty word in the current climate; I guess angels fear to tread where one such as Rob Schneider has failed…

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A heck of a lot of news came out of Microsoft’s X10 event the other day. There’s new information on Alan Wake, Dead Rising 2, Fable III, Halo: Reach, Lost Planet 2, Modern Warfare 2, Red Dead Redemption, Splinter Cell: Conviction and more.

After the break you’ll find a bunch of announcements, assorted trailers and things. It’s almost like Christmas! Although Microsoft are certain this is “the biggest year in Xbox 360 gaming history”, I’m pretty sure they say that every year.

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Somebody’s Uncle once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”, that’s how I feel about Mass Effect 2, not the epic story of Commander Shepard you understand, but having to write the review. To be honest the long awaited release has come and gone, along with the pre-launch excitement that was buzzing the Buttonmasher forums. That is one of the reasons I feel uncomfortable right now, because 95% of the people that would have been interested in this review have already finished the game, 50% of them are probably now on their second run through and let’s not mention the shady 16% that have already happily skipped back to EB with their seven day hires. Yes, it has taken me nearly two weeks to get here, but I am not going to apologise for that.

Mass Effect 2 is a great game, no question, it’s glossy and entertaining, it has improved over some aspects of Mass Effect 1 in leaps and bounds, but I do find myself taking issue with it occasionally. Perhaps now a couple of weeks after launch it would be prudent to play Devil’s Advocate and raise these issues, rather than tout the title as a contender for Game of the Year so soon into the new decade.

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The latest cover story of GameInformer looks at the Rockstar game that seemed to have dug its self into a secret hiding hole while waiting for an appropriate time to make it’s debut. The game is non other than L.A. Noire, the crime drama set in the 40’s. Along with the information about its planned release timing is the knowledge that it will in fact be a multiplatform release on both the PS3 and Xbox360. Swinging!

Although most people praise Uncharted 2 for it’s gripping single-player experience, Naughty Dog are still determined to keep their multiplayer community happy. Soon after the DLC skins pack was released, Naughty Dog have announced some changes for Uncharted 2’s multiplayer. In an experimental weekend poll they found that most people liked playing the Crushing difficulty, meaning a few changes to the gameplay including lowered health for all players.

However 33% of players said they would prefer the Crushing variant in it’s own playlist. Yet Naughty Dog have gone with the 39% of players and are planning to change every match. I don’t know about you but getting killed before you even have time to react is the most frustrating thing about online gaming, second only to those ‘unique’ people equipped with headsets.