Yesterday in some rather unexpected news BioWare announced 4 Player Online Co-op for the, until-now, single player Mass Effect series. This along with the added Kinect support gives good reason for the delay. In the words of John Riccitiello these are the steps from EA in order for Mass Effect 3 to “reach a far larger market”.

Now before you go crying asunder, the single player game remains largely untouched. Galaxy At War, as BioWare call it, is being developed in collaboration with BioWare Montreal and is completely optional to play. The co-op missions make one part of the new GAW system. You form a Shepardless Special Forces Squad with new characters of various abilities and races.

Even so, it appears you can earn “Galactic Readiness” by playing the co-op missions. Which from the sounds of things does have an impact on the world of your Commander Shepard.

Full details after the break.

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Closing out the Summer of Arcade, this game brought some consternation with its use of the word ‘free’ when it popped up on the xbox Live Arcade, I know a few opportunistic members that dove straight in, myself included. Only to find that the game was indeed a short taster with a distinct push for the player to buy characters to play the full game. The choice of three characters did come with a supermarket style 3 for 2 pricing structure to encourage you to pay that little bit extra for them all. Fair enough, I suppose. Continue reading

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Gar mentioned this site, www.gamersoptout.com on the podcast, but it really bears repeating. The EULA updates in both Origin and PSN both includes clauses in which waive your right to join a class action law suit when you press that “accept” button. There is a way around, which is to write to these companies saying that you don’t wish to waive these writes. Hah! Writing letters! Sounds like a clever deterrent. Fortunately, the website mentioned exists for the sole purpose of writing those letters on your behalf.

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Hot on the heels of last year’s Crysis2 comes a refreshed and revitalised update of 2007 classic PC shooter Crysis. The game set 3 years before the sequel never made it to consoles, after disproving many doubters with Crysis2 developers Crytek have gone back to the future and delivered console gamers the experience they deserved.

Crysis on the XBLA/PSN networks is downloadable only and weighs in around 4 gigabytes, testament to some of the quality visuals that it consistently delivers. This version is very much an update of the original, new lighting effects and a slick nanosuit control scheme that will be familiar to players of the sequel. For a title that is four years old under the hood, it rarely shows I have encountered some oddball behaviour with enemy AI and perhaps the weight of the ballistics feels a little old school, but on the whole it is really quite jaw dropping. Continue reading

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Welcome to ButtonMasher’s fastest podcast yet! Actually that’s a complete fabrication; though it may be true, I’m not really sure how to measure the velocity of a podcast. Tell you what though, Gar’s super excited about Forza 4! So excited, he contemplated pushing me down the stairs! He actually talks about that process in some detail, which was frightening for me. Then the last ten minutes is dedicated to talking about TV shows, and the possibility of a TV show related spin-off podcast is ruled out. Gar also mentions www.gamersoptout.com which is for not giving up your right to join in on a class action law suit which is starting to become a part of the EULA boilerplate these days it seems.

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Racing games don’t get much bigger than this. Almost two years to the date since the well received Forza Motorsport 3 launched we have its successor. Forza Motorsport 4 (FM4). It has been taunted as the biggest, best and most feature packed assault on the racing genre to date. Breaking tradition with most review formats I’m going to come right and say it. Forza Motorsport 4 is easily the best and most enjoyable racing game I have ever played. Now it’s not perfect, but it’s the closest to it I have ever seen.

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I was on the fence about buying the season pass for Gears Of War 3, but the announcement of the Horde Command Pack sold me completely, particularly if we can expect the other content packs to be as comprehensive. The pack includes three new levels, three new players skins, two weapon skins, and four new fortification upgrades for Horde mode, including a command post upgrade that will allow you to call in fire support! My only concern is how this may end up splitting the player base, but overall, I’m paid up and ready to mantle-kick some locust in the face!

Twitter just exploded.  Five of the top ten trending phrases are regarding the death of Apple founder, programmer and life-long gadget innovator, Steve Jobs.

Apple announced Jobs’ passing with the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”

Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, and in 2009 underwent a liver transplant.  He took a leave of absence earlier this year to focus on his health, and only a few weeks ago resigned his position as CEO of Apple for the same reason.

As one of the main developers of the iconic Apple II, Steve Jobs was an important figure in the history of personal computers.  His later introduction of the iPod revolutionised (and, it must be said, popularised) mobile media gadgetry.  The subsequent offspring of the iPod; the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad, are now among the world’s most popular gaming devices.

On a personal note, some of my first gaming experiences were on an Apple IIe.  Even this Nokia-toting Windows purist may have shed a little tear at this news ;(

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Renegade Ops had caught the attention of a lot of people in the run up to its eventual release, some very nice looking gameplay videos perpetuated with some very big explosions – what more does a gamer need? However, timing is everything and when Microsoft dropped the title onto the marketplace 3 days before Gears of War 3 released. Were they hoping to capitalise on itchy customers desperate for something new to do while they waited for Emergence Day 3 or did they panic and try to get it out as a surprise because the next couple of months contain a deluge of retails AAA titles? Continue reading