The Backorder Bonus: Need for Speed… Shift (PS3/360)

This first Backorder Bonus is a bit of a lie. I have recently been digging in to my stash of games and playing Need for Speed Undercover. But since I also recently just upgraded from my old 20GB Xbox 360 Pro console to an Elite console, I figured I would combine the occasion in to one big blowout and give away the NFS Shift Elite Series codes I have! Skip ahead if all you want is the contest details!

First, the game. Need for Speed Undercover is the culmination of the “Underground” saga. Rather than a continuation of the Need for Speed Most Wanted and Carbon stories, it seems, so far, to be a spin off into a world of double crossing racers, crooked cops, and personal vendetta. It plays much like the Underground series, more like a racing action game, and not a racing simulator. Need for Speed Prostreet and Shift, it’s sequels, are more like the latter. These games aren’t my style, I love the consequence free ability to crash in to a wall, smash in to an opponent, and take out water towers.

With the familiar “escape” game modes and a few new outrun modes, the game has more to offer than the transition from Most Wanted to Carbon did. Though it seems to encourage less “free roam” than it’s predecessors, continually prompting you to “press down on the d-pad” to skip to the next campaign related race.

The acting is among the same quality we’re getting used to seeing in the Need For Speed saga, but much like the other games in the series, I’m forced to feel like people are talking AT me and not TO me. You have no personal connection to the character you’re playing, so even when a potential love interest looks into the camera with her puppy dog eyes and feelings of betrayal, I don’t feel like the guy who turned on her… if that’s even what just happened!?

Graphics and sound of course what you’ve come to expect from Need For Speed, but this game does leave a little wanting – the environments just seemed to stale, and all of the day time racing made me wonder who really likes the color brown? Over all I’m enjoying it, but so far, I’ve stayed offline and stuck to the campaign, as I’m sure there are people who have been playing it every day since it’s release still waiting online to leave me in the dust.

BACK ORDER BONUS: This one’s easy, folks. To enter, simply leave a comment on this thread. That’s it. I’m not even going to be a jerk and force you to register on the site… not yet! I have a whopping TWELVE codes to give away. The first 6 people to leave a PROPER comment (your PSNID or Gamertag, and/or your Twitter ID. Follow @NuAngel so that I can DM you the code if you’re a winner), will be contacted with a code. After that, the remaining 6 codes will be given away at random, with the remaining winners being decided NO EARLIER than Tuesday, November 10th, 2009. The contest runs until I’m out of codes, even if it takes longer. If you only see 11 comments and it’s January, be number 12!

What you’ll win: Need for Speed Elite Series Unlock Code. The code is entered IN-GAME. Simply go to the main menu, then the options menu, then select Redeem Code. Once entered, go to Career, then International Events – the first career race must be completed before this will show. Elite Series gives you access to FIVE special races with pre-tuned cars, available nowhere else in the game. This was a preorder exclusive offered to Gamecrazy and Amazon.com customers.

PROPER COMMENTS: All you need to do is tell me how to reach you! Leave your Gamertag / PSN ID / Twitter ID, and I can DM you the message or leave it in your inbox on any of the gaming platforms.

Coming Soon: The Backorder Bonus*

Soon, I will be unveiling a new feature-series on the website. The Backorder and The Backorder Bonus*. The Backorder is just going to be a very simple segment where I occasionally chime and let you know what game I’ve been playing lately. Most of these games are from a backlog of games that I should have played a long time ago.

These will not be reviews or anything too detailed, but I will give a little bit of feedback and a quick opinion on the game itself.

*As a part of some these Backorder articles, I will sometimes include the Backorder Bonus. The more times I can offer this, I will. The intention of the Backorder Bonus is very much lik a preorder bonus for most new video games today. I intend to give codes for DLC, free copies of games, etc… whatever I can do, that’s what I’ll do! The rules for claiming these will be explained by the post itself, but I have every intention of keeping the first few very simple, to get more people participating!

I won’t be able to offer Backorder Bonuses every time, but I’ll be trying to do offer as many as possible!

Preview: Bayonetta First Climax Demo

A demo was recently released on Xbox Live and Playstation Network in Japan. Luckily, we were able to get ahold of that very same demo. The game is presented by Sega, and that part becomes laughably obvious very quickly, as your character seems to have an affinity for little Gold Rings (ala Sonic the Hedgehog). I didn’t see a purpse for them in the demo, though I quickly racked up about a thousand!

I played through the demo very quickly using it’s default settings. It’s quite easy to get a basic grasp of the controls, but the tutorial mode lets you know that there is a long road ahead to becoming a master.

A few unanswered questions loom from the Bayonetta demo. Fore most in my mind, why the semi-transparent angels won’t interact with you, but fire your weapon and they’ll run like pedestrians in a Grand Theft Auto game. Still, the game play was a very fun experience.

Gameplay was very much like these 3rd person action games thrive on. Mash away at the buttons on your controller, and watch your on screen character seamlessly weave a quilt of combos.

Stealing gigantic weapons from angels, including a trumpet that acts as a rocket launcher, is a quick and easy way to turn the tables of a fight that isn’t going your way. I actually wish the battles were a little more hectic and there were a few more baddies to ping-pong your combos off of.

Anyone who has seen a review or a preview here at WinBreak before, knows that two of my pet peeves are graphics and voice acting. And unfortunately, this is where the game suffers. The music is fantastic, and picks up when you enter combat, much the way the game Wet does. Sadly, the battle clashing sounds aren’t anything ground breaking, your standard crash bam boom stuff. Voice acting is laughably terrible, including the taunt “I’ve got a fever, and the prescription is dead angels.”

The graphics also seem very PS2 era. The environments are much more beautiful and scaled more to the size we expect these days. But I can’t get over the fact that the graphics just don’t meet expectations. They feel washed out, and even the cut-scenes / FMV’s which are pre-rendered, show signs of compression – something that a game on DVD or BluRay probably shouldn’t need! It all looks too much like a PlayStation 2 era game.

The game is extremely self-aware, much like the game I already compared it to, Wet. It’s funny, a little bit camp, but it’s actually quite fun. It plays to Sega fans, and falls right in to the “hot chick kickin’ butt” category that it wants to be a part of oh so well. It’s worth checking out, but don’t expect the wonderful graphical adventure that Heavenly Sword was. But you will certainly enjoy using your feet to shoot semi-automatic weapons!

Xbox 360 to get Streaming TV in the States? In the works!

Xbox owning Americans have been thrilled to enjoy the benefits of Netflix on the Xbox 360’s. Soon we’ll get some streaming music with the Last.fm service, as well as lots of social networking addons this fall. Still, we’ve seen a lot of jealousy when it comes to Sky TV in the United Kingdom.

While we have no clue as of a timeline, it’s clear that, for about a year now, Microsoft has been working with AT&T in North America to look at the possibility of bringing AT&T’s U-Verse TV to the Xbox 360. Why do I say it’s been in the works for a year? Because nobody at Microsoft would even MENTION it if it was supposed to be a super-secret. If they’re talking about it, it must be coming along. So, even though we haven’t heard anything like “we’ll see it this holiday season,” like we expect to see the other social networking addons, this was clearly far enough along that Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment &Devices Division, felt comfortable enough to talk about it clear back in April of 2009.

Well, there you have it. Nothing to worry about, right!? We’ll have TV streaming to our Xbox 360, perhaps as early as 2010! I’ve never used the AT&T U-Verse TV service, I don’t know how much of my television it can provide for me, but it sounds like a start! A lot of people still believe that a Hulu player, with no additional subscription fee, would be a great addition to the Xbox 360, and I agree. But until then, at least we can recover from the thought that we would never have anything to compete with Sky TV. Microsoft’s next secret weapon to make the Xbox 360 everyone’s “home entertainment device” of choice is clearly being worked on, and will hopefully be available by this time next year!