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    October 31st, 2014GamespotReviews

    The New Nintendo 3DS, which is slated to come to the West sometime in 2015, will be region-locked. And just last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata justified his company's commitment to region-locked content. However, during this week's investor meeting, it sounds like that's not a set-in-stone policy for Nintendo.

    Form an unofficial translation of the Q&A following Nintendo's investor meeting on gaming forum Neogaf, Iwata responded to the question of whether his company had any plans to unlock the region-specific restrictions.

    The game business has a history of taking a very long time with localization among other things, such as having to deal with various issues of marketing in each particular country, or games that have made use of licensed content that did not apply globally, and had all kinds of circumstances, so to say, that region-locking has existed due to circumstances on the sellers' side rather than for the sake of the customers. In the history of game consoles, that is the current situation. As for what should be done going forward, if unlocked for the benefit of the customers, there may also be a benefit for us. Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved, so while I can't say today whether or not we intend to unlock, we realize that it is one thing that we must consider looking to the future.

    While it's not the concession to finally abandon the practice that many fans may have wanted, it's still better than a blanket rejection. After all, up until the Nintendo DS, the Nintendo's handheld consoles were region-free.

    Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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    October 31st, 2014GamespotReviews
    Join Chris as he brings you the top 5 news stories of the week and holds a costume contest featuring GameSpot staff who dressed up for Halloween. Vote for your favorite costume in the comments!
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    October 31st, 2014GamespotPreviews

    Total Annihilation goes intergalactic, and at hyperspeed. That, in a nutshell, describes Planetary Annihilation, Uber Entertainment's homage to one of the all-time greatest real-time strategy games. The game comes with some key enhancements, however, including a challenging pace and enemy artificial intelligence, along with full globes of cartoony planets and moons serving as battlegrounds. RTS newcomers will have a tough time with the sheer velocity of the combat and the lack of proper tutorials and manuals, as will tacticians who prefer to think before they click. But the speed, difficulty, and map innovations make Planetary Annihilation grow on you.

    I wouldn't have said so in the early hours, though. Planetary Annihilation steamrolled me initially. The game comes with little in the way of documentation. There is no in-game tutorial; all the primers that you get before being dropped on a planet come from blurry videos that barely hint at what the game has to offer. To figure things out, you should watch an hour or three of YouTube videos and search the Internet for tips. Until you research, you are cannon fodder on map after map. Planetary Annihilation desperately needs a proper tutorial that lets players dip their toes into the deep waters; the "jump in head-first" approach doesn't work with a game this unforgiving.

    The little planets and great big units are cute, in a mass murdery kind of way.

    The underlying RTS formula is familiar, at least. As in Total Annihilation, you start off with a giant commander that has the power to construct various parts of your headquarters, including vehicle and robot builders, power plants (energy is one resource), metal extractors (metal is the other), laser turrets, and so forth. Every faction is led by one of these bosses, so victory comes when you blast these Transformer wannabes into rubble. There is a simple progression here. You start with your commander and then create a fabricator vehicle with access to even more facility blueprints and improved factories that can crank out bigger and better tanks, planes, bots, ships, and orbital weaponry and vessels. Then you create advanced versions of all this stuff that handle heavier duties that lead to even more formidable armies.

    Planetary Annihilation sticks you into a quick-tempo arms race that rolls from planet to planet, from moon to moon. From the moment that your big robot commander hits the ground, you need to establish facilities and ensure that you have a production line running at maximum efficiency. Units need to be streaming out continuously, and knowledge of hotkeys is imperative, especially when the guns start going off. The enemy AI always gets its armies flowing quickly, so taking extra time to play with the mouse or contemplate what type of tank would be most useful in the current situation results in being besieged and obliterated. You don't even have any time to spare when the foe is a planet or two away, as the bad guys rapidly send a transport your way and then build the transporter needed to beam full armies to your front door.

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    Foes can attack from any direction. Unlike other RTS games with traditional flat maps, the battlegrounds here are full globes. Planets look rather cartoony, as they are extremely tiny, your units are spectacularly huge, or both. But they form effective theaters of war and feature various types of terrain ranging from ice balls, to desert worlds, to chunks of metal. It’s hard to get used to at first; RTS instinct might have you building defenses between your bases and the enemy, forgetting that all opponents must do to flank is to simply run around the globe. This strategic consideration caught me off guard in the early stages, and forced me to spend more time walling off bases and ensuring that I had proper turret protection all the way around against ground and aerial assaults.

    Make sure to build defenses again orbital attacks, too. As you might expect from a game where you conquer planets and moons, space is a key dimension in addition to the traditional land, air, and sea units. Orbital constructors crank out spaceships like fighters and transport vessels necessary to launch interplanetary invasions (although transporters make it easy to teleport armies across the void instantaneously after you establish a beachhead). This whole concept is initially befuddling; AI makes full use of space attacks, so you might be convinced at first that some buildings are blowing up on their own. Once you surmount that learning curve and stage an invasion, however, the course of battle becomes easier to understand. There is also the ability to build Death Stars by fitting guns into metal worlds and crashing one planetary body into another, giving matches a suitably apocalyptic feel.

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    The AI is cunning and spectacularly aggressive. It builds quickly, creates a solid base infrastructure with loads of power plants and metal extractors, and immediately sets forth to crush all opposition. It is smart at reacting to your defenses. Build a ton of anti-air defenses to deal with enemy planes, and the AI will quickly react by throwing more tanks and ships at you. Any vulnerability is identified and attacked, even on the default normal difficulty, making the challenge occasionally difficult to take. You might get a base set up, think you have everything covered, and be ready to roll out enough fighters and bombers to blot out the sky, only to be steadily whittled away by probing enemy strikes that are inevitably followed up by massive waves of units.

    An easier difficulty setting might have provided time to get fully accustomed to the interface and then ramp up the speed, but its global battles can get under your skin, keeping you coming back for more and more. Planetary Annihilation is a good, challenging RTS designed along very familiar lines. True, its best qualities can be obscured in the early going by its unforgiving difficulty and the absence of good tutorials, but even when you're overwhelmed, speedy combat and smart AI reel you in. Give it time, and the fast and furious combat smooth out the rough edges into a compelling and challenging strategy game.

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    October 31st, 2014GamespotPreviews

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is coming out in just a few days and we have a lot of coverage coming post-release. Until then, why not catch up on some of the news and features that you may have missed over the past few months. There's a lot to cover, so let's get to it, soldier!

    There are only a couple days left to preorder the game, but here's what you can expect to earn for enlisting early.

    Eschewing the normal trend of retailer-specific offers, the bulk of the game's exclusive content will be available to everyone...but that doesn't mean that some stores aren't also trying to entice you in. Here are the current store-specific pre-order bonuses

    And here's a detailed list of what you'll get if you purchase a season pass for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare now, before the game's release.

    As previously announced, the Atlas Gorge multiplayer map (the remake of CoD 4's Pipeline) will be made available right from launch for anyone who buys the season pass, and you can see it in action in today's trailer.

    Above: A sneak peek at some gameplay from the official Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launch trailer.

    If you're thinking about playing Advanced Warfare on PC, take a look at the minimum system requirements to make sure you're good to go.

    • CPU: Intel Core i3-530 @ 2.93 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 810 @ 2.80 GHz or better
    • RAM: 6 GB RAM
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 @ 1 GB / ATI Radeon HD 5870 @ 1 GB or better

    Above: Mark Walton explains how Advanced Warfare's multiplayer reinvigorates his spirits.

    Catch up on everything we know about the leaked zombie mode here, which was recently confirmed as authentic by one of the game's developers.

    Glen Schofield, the co-founder of Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games, appeared to confirm the veracity of the leak on Twitter.

    Above: Highlights from the new Uplink mode, in which two teams try to score points by bringing a spherical drone into opposing team's uplink zone.

    Mark Walton reflects the joys of smart grenades and jetpacks in this detailed breakdown of Advanced Warfare's futuristic facets.

    But then, how could a game featuring jetpacks and laser-guided smart grenades possibly not be fun? I mean, if you don't get a jolly from jetpack jumping off of a 10-storey building, guns blazing and smart grenades exploding as you pick off hapless soldiers on the ground below, it's time to have a long hard look about your video game priorities.

    Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condry explains how Advanced Warfare benefitted from a three year development cycle.

    "I think that was really what that extra year gave us, the chance to break a few things...to maybe alienate a few ideas to bring Sledgehammer's take to Call of Duty. And maybe push boundaries further than people were comfortable and then pull it back if we went too far."

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    October 31st, 2014JoystiqNews
    In the market for a last-minute Halloween mask that's both cheap and terrifying? 2K Sports has released a series of print-out masks inspired by NBA 2K15's infamous face-scanning feature -- an ideal finishing touch for that Texas Chainsaw Massacre costume you've been working on.

    Ostensibly designed to allow players to map their own faces onto NBA 2K15 players, the face scan feature instead generated sheer horror in the wake of the game's launch earlier this month. The mechanic left many custom-created players with misshapen facial features, multiple sets of eyes, and other uncanny disfigurements.

    Instead of locking its unholy creations in the basement, 2K wisely decided to repurpose its barely-human menagerie for Halloween fun. It all makes sense now. See, that character you generated with a tongue sticking out of his neck wasn't a glitch -- he just showed up to the costume party a few weeks early!

    [Image: 2K]

    JoystiqNBA 2K15 face scan nightmares are now Halloween masks originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    October 31st, 2014GamespotReviews
    Welcome to Camp Forest Green, where your sleeping bag... Will be your body bag!
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    October 31st, 2014GamespotReviews
    Watch extended gameplay footage from Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments featuring the Giant Bomb crew.
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    October 31st, 2014JoystiqNews
    In lieu of rebuilding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from scratch for its recent Xbox 360 re-release, Rockstar Games simply ported the existing Android version of San Andreas to Microsoft's console, according to the tech sleuths at Digital Foundry.

    In a test comparing numerous versions of San Andreas, Digital Foundry noticed numerous similarities between the Xbox 360 and Android releases. "Viewed side by side, Xbox 360 and [Android-powered] Shield Tablet games appear to be a close match - the higher-resolution 2D artwork and the new front end are much the same, though the new console release appears to possess enhanced draw distance over the Android version (even when it's set to 100 per cent on the mobile version)," the report states. "Unfortunately, aside from the inclusion of Achievements, there's very little love given to this new edition. Just like the Android release, there's absolutely no anti-aliasing available, whereas even the original PC version supports this, while the vast majority of Xbox Originals on the 360 emulator supported 2x or 4x MSAA depending on the title."

    Further, Digital Foundry notes that the game's mobile roots have left its framerate capped at 30 frames per second, a decision that results in frequent hitching and stuttering. "What could have been an opportunity to produce the ultimate, definitive version of GTA: San Andreas comes across as something of a missed opportunity," the group concludes.
    [Image: Rockstar Games]

    JoystiqReport: Xbox 360's GTA: San Andreas HD is an Android port originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    October 31st, 2014GamespotPreviews

    Square Enix today uploaded a video from the Paris Games Festival that shows off new gameplay from Final Fantasy XV.

    Titled "Tabata Director's Active Time Report," the lengthy video doesn't actually get into the gameplay for FFXV until 33:24, but it does give you a glimpse of part of the game's scope with lots of walking, close-ups of huge dinosaur beasts...and a gas station.

    What do you think about the game so far? It's been a long wait for Final Fantasy XV, but graphically it seems to be shaping up to be pretty impressive.

    Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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    October 31st, 2014GamespotReviews
    Watch extended gameplay footage from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Remastered featuring the Giant Bomb crew.
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