This Week's Top Stories: January 3 - 9, 2011

Welcome to another instalment in our weekly news digest where the team at PSU Towers picks our favourite slices of gaming gossip from the past seven days, before proceeding to offer our two cents on each story for good measure.

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Rockstar still has ‘massive number of ideas’ for Red Dead

It’s just a hunch, but we reckon every man and his dog would welcome a sequel to Rockstar’s rapturously received Red Dead Redemption. Garnering critical acclaim and numerous Game of the Year accolades since its launch last year, John Marston’s Wild West outing is practically begging for a follow-up. While Rockstar’s keeping mum on the topic of a sequel, the famed developer has revealed that – like all games – it still has a heap of leftover ideas lying around on the cutting room floor that didn’t quite make the final cut. Quite how much this amounts to is unknown, but there’s every chance there is enough to use in a sequel. Still, if they do decide to go through with another Red Dead outing, we just hope it won’t be at a compromise to the game’s quality; Redemption came out six years after its spiritual predecessor Red Dead Revolver, and if it means we have to play the waiting game for a follow-up, we’ll be happy to oblige. After all, you know it’s going to be mind blowing.

UK retailer says Uncharted 3 interest is “awe-inspiring”

You don’t need Michael Pachter and his crystal ball to twig that Nathan Drake’s third adventure will be a sure fire hit. As such, we’re not at all surprised that Uncharted 3 has already muscled its way past some stiff competition and made a running-jump in to ShopTo.net’s pre-order top ten. Even more impressive is the fact it has seen off 2011’s other big sequel, Gears of War 3, despite the fact it won’t even be on store shelves until November. That’s some mighty pulling power right there. Interestingly though, it’s worth remembering that the game’s predecessor, Among Thieves, didn’t actually shift as many copies as many thought it would upon its UK release in November 2009, despite receiving overwhelmingly positive review scores from critics. Nonetheless, we expect Drake’s Deception to sell like hot cakes around the globe, and regardless of how well it sits with Joe Public; hardcore gamers know it’ll be the dogs bollocks. After all, with Naughty Dog at the helm, would you expect anything less? Thought not.

Mortal Kombat dev says Kratos will ‘stay true’ to form

While we were elated to learn that God of War’s bald brute Kratos would be hopping over to Mortal Kombat to splatter claret all over the shop, there remained a modicum of concern as to whether or not developer NetherRealm studios would muck with the formula. Fortunately, our fears were alleviated this week when MK creator Ed Boon assured fans that this wouldn’t be the case. Nope, working conjunction with the creators of God of War at Sony, NetherRealm is making a conscious effort to ensure Kratos’ inclusion in the beat ‘em up wouldn’t stray from his original conception. Furthermore, we can also expect the anti-hero to come equipped with a plethora of bone-crushing, blood-spilling manoeuvres plucked straight from the games themselves, which we’re hoping will also extend to Kratos’ line-up of Fatalities. From the sounds of things, Boon and co are handling the situation with kid gloves and certainly seem to be heading in the right direction – we’re pumped.

Monster Hunter Freedom 3 ships four million units

Blimey, we think it’s fair to say Capcom bigwigs must have had a turkey and all the trimmings this year going by the monumental success of the latest Monster Hunter game. Four million shipments in just over a month is no mean feat. Unsurprisingly, the game is poised to become Japan’s top selling title of FY 2010. Still, we’re hardly surprised; given the fact the franchise has sold by the bucket load since its inception on PS2 back in 2004, there wasn’t any doubt Monster Hunter Freedom 3 would be an exception to this. Sadly Capcom’s still keeping mum over the prospect of a Western release, though we highly doubt they’ll let the opportunity pass by.

Mass Effect 3 DLC free on PSN until Feb. 23 

Mass Effect 2’s PS3 debut is looking more scrumptious by the day, and if the ample out-of-the-box DLC wasn’t enough to tickle your fancy already, then the prospect of scooping up some extra content for free surely will. Specifically, EA’s confirmed that the Terminus armor & Blackstorm gun will be available free via PlayStation Network until February 23. With the sequel out on January 18, you’ll have nearly a month to take advantage of this rather generous offer. Just make sure you can pry yourself away from January’s other heavy hitters such a LittleBigPlanet 2 and Dead Space 2 long enough to gobble it up – it’s going to be a busy month, after all. Those of you who haven’t already played the original Mass Effect should be reminded that BioWare’s included a handy interactive digital comic allowing you to get the skinny on the sci-fi spectacle’s meaty storyline. Of course, you could conceivably just watch all the cut scenes on YouTube, but where’s the fun in that?

Naughty Dog says it’s “not done” with Nathan Drake

Really, did anyone even have any doubt about Nathan Drake's longevity? Let's face it -- the cheeky treasure hunter is going to be in this for the long haul. Given the phenomenal success of both the original Uncharted and its sumptuous sequel Among Thieves, there’s no doubt in our mind that Drake has cemented his place as one of the leading icons of today’s games industry, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Lara Croft, Leon S. Kennedy, Master Chief, Mario, Sonic and more. In other words, he’s not going to retire and mow the lawn any time soon – expect to see Drake around for the next decade or so at least. This belief is further backed up by the fact Naughty Dog has pledged to expand the series to other entertainment mediums, such as plans for a novel and rumors of a PSP2 game. In fact, a handheld Uncharted is only a matter of time, and we expect this to pop up before Drake’s next console endeavour.

Tomb Raider Trilogy dated

Square’s eponymous Tomb Raider reboot may be looking mighty fine, but that’s no reason to turn your nose up at Lara Croft’s last couple of adventures – especially when they’re remastered in glorious HD. Having previously been outed via Amazon back in December, the Tomb Raider Trilogy has now been given an official date – March 25. Furthermore, it is indeed exclusive to Sony’s black behemoth, marking the first time PS3 owners will be able to get their mitts on high-definition offerings of Legend and Anniversary. Underworld’s also included in the pack, but chances are most fans have already added that to their adventurer’s backpack. Regardless, the former two games are the main attraction here, easily accounting for some of the nimble archaeologist’s best adventures in over a decade. Plus, you get a heap of extra goodies thrown in too, including a Lara Home avatar and ‘Making Of’ videos. Not too shabby. 

Red Dead Redemption patch fixes numerous bugs

Those of you who have yet to invest in Red Dead Redemption would be wise to saddle up and gallop along to your nearest games store and plonk down the cash asap – Rockstar’s just released a massive patch for the game, and we couldn’t think of a better time to begin your Wild West quest. For everyone else, the patch should prove a welcome addition to John Marston’s epic journey. For one, we’re chuffed to see Rockstar’s removed the pesky reboot required when making the transition from the single player campaign to multiplayer gaming. There’s also a myriad of other tweaks thrown in for good measure not limited to the main game, with the update patching various bugs in the zombie-centric Undead Nightmare and the Liars and Cheats DLC. Needless to say, if you haven’t already downloaded the update – it’s mandatory, so it’s not as if you have any choice unless you fancy abstaining from Red Dead for life – fire up the game and get to it.

EA unveils first Dragon Age II DLC

Dragon Age II isn’t even out for a few months yet, but that hasn’t stopped EA from the hype train ‘a chugging, confirming plans for its inaugural slice of DLC – Exiled Prince. Details are still thin on the ground, though this much is known; if you want to scoop it up for free, you’ll have to plonk down a pre-order for the game’s hefty Signature Edition. Miss out on this, and it’ll set you back around $7 post-launch. Needless to say, we’re huge fans of Dragon Age here at PSU Towers, so the more content we’ll be getting out of the sequel, the better as far as we’re concerned. From the look of things, Exiled Prince centres on a tale of revenge, though not much else is known at this point. However, the series’ pedigree speaks for itself, and if the content is anything like the excellent Dragon Age Origins: Awakenings, we’re sure to be in for a treat.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim details surface

We’ve been clamouring to get our mitts on the first Elder Scrolls V details ever since we clapped eyes on its ominous debut trailer back in December last year, and now that we have, it’s safe to say Bethesda’s cooking up something mighty special indeed. Where to begin? Well, for starters, the game will boast a myriad of improvements ranging from combat to quests, and we’re particularly thrilled at the inclusion of dual weapon wielding. Double trouble for anyone foolish enough to challenge our Dragon born saviour in a duel to the death. Speaking of enemies, we can’t wait to go toe-to-toe with the Dragons themselves, along with a host of other classic Oblivion foes such as zombies, wraiths, wolves and more. However, what’s really got us all in a flutter is the overhauled facial animations and conversations. As such, having a chinwag with an NPC is a far more realistic affair this time around, with character’s conveying emotion far more convincingly than Oblivion’s comparatively stoic efforts. Admittedly, we’re a little disheartened over the reduced number of skills (mysticism’s out, for one), but the amount of races – a meaty 10 in total – plus the ability to indulge in numerous works around town such as cooking, mining and more has us totally stoked. Oh, and you can sprint now too – thank heavens for that. Now we just need to see how the scaling system pans out (apparently, it’s similar to Fallout 3’s, which is a good thing in our books) and we’ll be happy as Larry. One thing’s for sure: November 11th can’t come soon enough.

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