Halo 4, the newest game in Microsoft’s flagship franchise, will pick up exactly where Halo 3 left off, with Master Chief and Cortana in the Forward Unto Dawn drifting toward a planet. The game is packed with new stuff starting with new enemies and weapons and the start of a new story. In fact, there will be a whole new faction, the Prometheans. These strange robotic creatures are somehow related to the forerunners, a species of human-like creatures that lived in the galaxy in the past. The Prometheans fight very differently than Master Chief’s previous enemy, the Covenant. The Prometheans use many new tactics to bring you down, which should add new depth to the game. The crawlers, the Promethean equivalent of grunts, can crawl up any surface, so hiding behind pillars, walls, or on ledges won’t be as useful as it used to be. The knights, the Prometheans main unit, use their shields, speed, watchers, and teleportation abilities to destroy you. Watchers are an aerial support unit that are deployed by knights, they can use a tractor beams to throw grenades back at you, put a hardlight shield between you and a knight, or they could heal the knight. There are different types of knights and crawlers, so there should be plenty of variety. Halo 4 also has a new take on story telling by making the game more personal. Finally, the game will be in full HD. Before you say that Halo Reach was in HD, recall that true high-definition skins and textures to cover an entire game’s levels and maps would never fit on one game DVD like we buy. That’s why Halo 4 is almost undoubtedly coming on multiple disks. Halo 4 will be not only the must-have game on Xbox when it comes out on November 6, but looks to be a game to remember.
All the greatest things in the world of technology for Thursday, September 13th.
The moment we all we all wondered, watched, and waited for: Apple’s iPhone 5 event. Only yesterday, Apple showed the world its sixth generation iPhone. This new iPhone catches up on some hardware specifications, but brings in a new design which is certainly fresh. While announcing the iPhone 5, Apple also unveiled a new line of iPod Touch and iPod Nano devices. The iPod Touch has a better camera, and not comes with Siri as well. The iPod Nano has a larger, touch-enabled screen. But now to the iPhone. The new 4″ screen has the width of a widescreen TV, and has an improved 720p Retina Display screen. The device is also lighter, despite its new dimensions. While it currently runs iOS 5, the iPhone 5 is formidable, given improved battery life (8 hours talk time on 3G) and the faster A6 processor. The device is expected to get iOS 6 very soon. Lastly, the new Apple devices will feature a new “Lightning” docking port which is slimmer and faster. Overall, the device is a certain step up from the iPhone 4S, but in my opinion is most improved in design. Original design has seemed scarce in the mobile world, and Apple has always been able to break that trend. Recently though, new devices like the Lumia 920 or Galaxy S III have challenged Apple’s title for originality. For $199 on contract, you will be able to pick up an 16 GB model on September 21st, for $299 a 32 GB and for $399 a 64 GB. Read and see more.
After all the wait, we finally get a date and price on the Wii U. It seems to have been a long time coming, but Nintendo has recently announced that their new console would be released on November 18th (November 30th in Europe), just in time for the holiday season. Each console will come with the Wii GamePad, a tablet controller which gives players even more ways to interact with a video game, including touch, voice, and a second screen for inventory, power-ups, or other game-enhancers. The GamePad can even play some games while the TV is in use. The 8 GB model will run you $299, while the 32 GB model is $349, including a charger, a stand, and a copy of one of the launch titles, Nintendo Land. The Wii U will bring with it a variety of other games including New Super Mario Brother Wii 2, the sequel to a previous multiplayer Mario game on the Wii. The console is most importantly now supporting HD resolution gaming, so you can now enjoy all of your favorite Nintendo characters in high-definition. In the U.S. and Canada, all major cable and TV providers are said to support the Wii U’s TVii software on the GamePad, giving consumers access to DVR and TiVO options for your television. Read more.
The Wii U, Nintendo’s new console. The Wii U is the start of the next generation of consoles. With it Nintendo finally brings H-D graphics to their console. It also introduces the Nintendo gamepad. This handy controller has a decent-size screen in the middle of it like a tablet, but that’s we’re comparisons end. The gamepad unlike a tablet has dual analog sticks, a directional pad, plenty of buttons, and a grip on the back with two trigger. It also serves as a remote control, like a Wii Remote. The Wii U will still use Wii controllers, but along with the gamepad. The gamepad generally controls a “special” character in a game, while the Wii controllers are regular characters in a multiplayer game. The Wii U itself looks much more like an Xbox 360 than a Wii. There is a very large line up of games for the Wii U, varying from Mario and Nintendo classics, to popular shooters and platformers of other consoles. The Wii U comes out this Christmas season and is definitely something to look forward to.
Though the yearly E3 convention is intended for video games, often times companies stretch the definition a bit and unveil new software and technology enabling new ways to play. Microsoft and Nintendo took the stage in this regard, though we did see a few other pieces of technology rear their heads. In all honesty, the concept of Xbox Smartglass looked an awful lot like the new features of the Wii U, given the tablet-console communication will enrich the gaming experience. The Wii U’s tablet integration has been awaited for a while now, but this does raise questions. That said, Microsoft has been keeping us on our toes in awaiting the “Three Screens Vision”, connecting the console, tablet or phone, and PC. It’s also important to note that both have their advantages. Xbox Smartglass will be available for Windows 8 tablets, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS as far as we know. In the keynote, Marc Whitten mentions the use of the app on Android, so we can assume iOS as well. The Xbox website’s Smartglass page says that there will be an Xbox Smartglass app for Windows and Windows Phone, and that the “Xbox SmartGlass technology is available on other major platforms in the My Xbox app”. There is already an Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone and a beta for Windows 8 (since Windows 8 is in beta–download the latest iteration, Release Preview here). We also assume that there will be something along those lines for Android and iOS, perhaps with some limited features, though we have no details as of yet. The real deal here is that Xbox Smartglass is connecting “the devices you already own” for an enhanced experience not just gaming, but viewing movies or videos, and for browsing the web. All these features are briefly described in Xbox video below.
As far as the Wii U goes, I’m convinced that Nintendo has this technology pretty much in the bag. The integration that they demoed does look more refined than that of Smartglass, and, as of late, superior. That said, Nintendo has the advantage working with only one “tablet”, if the so-called “gamepad” could be described as such. As far as we know, the gamepad will have some abilities we associate with a tablet, like video-chatting, but the apps and services which will be available are uncertain. We can’t hardly blame Nintendo for this though, because so far as we’ve “heard” the gamepad should be in the $100 price range, limiting the hardware. Then again, if Amazon can do it, why can’t Nintendo? It’s important to note that the gamepad isn’t a tablet. And unlike the devices meant for Smartglass, the gamepad is not really a device outside of gaming purposes. Outside of gaming, we know the gamepad may have features like the 3DS currently has. Both devices will feature integration with the new MiiVerse “social network”, for which smartphone apps will also be available. Nintendo seems to be really going out of their comfort zone in order to try and bring customers what they want most, so kudos to them there.
We’ll admit there was some other technology that was there, but we’ll save you the trouble of it because it wasn’t all that special. If you’re interested on the “virtual reality” Doom 3 goggle gizmo, we recommend the article at the Road to VR blog.
Donkey Kong is a classic arcade title that helped define not only the platformer genre but also Jumpman, later known as Mario. First released in arcades, Donkey Kong was an instant hit. Nintendo’s president put an employee named Shigeru Miyamoto in charge of the game. The game was originally going to be based off of the TV-show Popeye, but Nintendo did get the licensing rights in time. So Miyamoto had to thank of something else. The result? Jumpman, Pauline, and Donkey Kong. The purpose of the game is to climb to the top of the tower to rescue Pauline. The game spans four intensely difficult levels. Donkey Kong is the game which started all Mario games; without it, there would be no Mario.