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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Star Trek Online - One Year Old Goodies


Atari and Cryptic studios are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of their Star Trek Online game by releasing a new Feature Episode Series, continuing to discount C-store offers and Lifetime Subscriptions by 20 percent and hosting special in-game events.

Especially for the game's anniversary, Cryptic and Atari are discounting Lifetime Subscriptions to Star Trek Online by 20 percent. The discount guarantees users perpetual access to Star Trek Online’s universe for £153.99 (excl.VAT). The special promotion ends February 4, 2011.

Players can also get to know the development team behind the game as they will make appearances withing the game from Feb 2nd bearing challenges of trivia - so be prepared your knowledge could well be rewarded!

The Feature Episode Series, 'Cloaked Intentions', centers on the Romulan Star Empire and charges players with preventing a civil war between differing factions inside the Empire. The five-episode series also introduces a new ship type and continues Star Trek Online's story beyond 2409. The first Episode is set to debut February 5.

Taking place in the year 2409, Star Trek Online boasts extraordinary features and lets fans both new and old experience unparalleled adventures. Players have the opportunity to become high-ranking Starfleet officers and participate in missions that take them into the depths of space, across exotic planets and inside other starships. Star Trek Online offers total customization, from a player's avatar to the ship he captains.

Review: Mass Effect 2 (PS3)


Unless you’ve been actually living in space, you may have heard of Mass Effect 2. Winning multiple Game of the Year awards last year and making up one-thirds of every Xbox fanboy’s arsenal in console wars, the game has finally arrived on the PS3. We already reviewed Mass Effect 2 last year and gave it a perfect score, so this review is just to help you make up your mind in case you were still on the fence.

If you’ve never heard of Mass Effect and really can’t be bothered with what’s happening on the PC and Xbox side, here’s the lowdown – this is a space opera played out as an action-oriented RPG. The game creates a very rich universe, with its own civilisations, history and politics. The first game saw protagonist Shepard chase across the galaxy in search of a rogue alien and uncover a deeper conspiracy hatched by a long forgotten race of super beings. Mass Effect 2 continues Shepard’s campaign; this time on a mission to find why humans are disappearing from colonies. You will tie up with a rogue human organization and befriend a motley crew of new and old allies, and even meet up with some old faces who’ve moved on with their lives in the two years separating the two games. The game is much more action oriented than its predecessor, and battles can be brutal at higher difficulty levels. This is one of the finest adventures you will embark upon on PC or consoles, and I thoroughly enjoyed replaying it.

The PS3 version includes a comic to bring you up to speed on the events of Mass Effect 1, in case you didn’t play it and because it isn’t available on PS3. The Dark Horse comic is bright and colourful, and well narrated. Over ten minutes, you will also get to make some of the key decisions, which will reflect their outcome in Mass Effect 2. While a ten minute comic is no substitute for 25 hours of gaming and the rich universe created in the first game, it does an admirable job of getting you up and running.

 However, and this is where my gripe with the PS3 version starts, the comic is only available as downloadable content free with every new copy of the PS3 game. They could’ve included it on the disc; it’s not like there was a dearth of space. The game itself requires a ridiculously long installation; 25 minutes on a near empty PS3, and up to 50 minutes on a full PS3. Add to this the time required to download the Cerberus pack, which includes the comic and a very useful ally, and you’re in for a long wait before you can get gaming. Ideally, the comic and the DLC should have been included on the disc, and the comic should have played out during the installation. Starcraft II did this to great effect.

The game looks fantastic. The opening sequence will leave you stunned. The characters are livelier this time, and the cutscenes and conversations have a cinematic touch to them. There is more camera movement, character expressions, and even an option to interrupt the conversation in a helpful or nasty way. The PS3 version is supposed to use the same graphics engine as Mass Effect 3, but it’s difficult to make out any major changes. I had some teething problems playing with the PS3 controller, being used to the Xbox 360 controller. There’s a nifty setting in the Options to switch the bumpers and triggers, which really made life simpler.