Midway Games Holiday Preview

I met with Midway today and saw their holiday 2006 lineup.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar - This is a Turbine developed MMO for the PC that will ship "when it's ready." Beta testing begins around the end of August. They believe that they've created a state of the art MMO set in Tolkein's world. It's a large world where players have to act in groups and changes are persistent. Explore the world and fight monsters to unlock accomplishments and special skills. You can customize your character by developing different skills. It's easy to play, the quest list is showing on the right side of the screen all the time with specific steps that you have to take. There are classes and professions. Bree town is a major gathering place that Turbine forsees as a bustling city full of player and nonplayer characters where you can train and participate in secure auctions. There are huge open areas like the Misty Mountains. Even though I was looking at an alpha build I thought it looked good. You can drag and drop to equip items. Quests encourage you to participate in group activities so there are some social aspects to it.

Mortal Kombat Armageddon In the seventh of the series for PS2 and Xbox, Midway brings back over 60 characters from the earlier versions. A huge feature is Kreate-A-Fighter where character creation is totally tweakable down to (or up to) breast size. If you add it all up there are millions of combos of different features that you can customize. You can also customize fighting style and button combos and write a bio for your character. Then you can take it all online and battle against other people's characters. There's also Kreate-A-Fatality where you enter a series of 3 button presses and can make your fatility as complex as you want. We're talking about ripping out skulls, spines, beating hearts. There's also a hidden mode that they're releasing information about in August. Konquest mode is bigger and better with better graphics and more realistic melee fighting. It's a single player story driven mode with boss battles that are the classic MK style. There are 20 plus backgrounds, some classics revisited now in 3D. This ships in October 2006 for PS2 and Xbox.

Mortal Kombat Unchained - This ships in October 2006 also and is for PSP. It's got ad hoc WiFi multiplayer combat. There are 30 characters. Honestly, this looked fine but after seeing the Xbox version the PSP didn't look so great.

John Woo Presents Stranglehold - This is a game to keep an eye out for because it was tons of fun. It's like stepping into a sequel of Hardboiled. You play as Inspector Tequilla (Chow Yun Fat) in this gory organized crime fighting story set in Hong Kong and Chicago. Everything is destructible (except the beer taps for some strange reason) and it's pretty fun just to walk around shooting stuff. You can use the furniture to your advantage, sliding on it or hiding behind it during gun fights. All the cinematics are real time in-game footage which translates to everything looks great. There's Tequilla Time which slows down time and gives you an advantage. You earn style points while you kill things. You can use these style points to upgrade your character or for special attacks that destroy everything in the room. This game looks really good and it is gratifying to destroy things in it. The controls are really simple. It's easy to get going and start blowing the crap out of stuff. There are online multiplayer modes and vehicle combat. This will ship in winter 2006 and will be for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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