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Daily Recap: May 15, 2009

May 15, 2009

The all-glorious Friday is upon us once again, so being the casual day it is let’s just get down to the news. No introductory hyperbole from me this time–a shame, I know.

Guitar Hero 5 is coming and it has songs (surprise!), free-to-play MMO Free Realms has racked up quite the player base in its first few weeks of existence, Valve’s sneaky with its surprises as usual, and Mass Effect 2 footage is available for your viewing pleasure.

Not Guitar Hero 5--but close enough

Not Guitar Hero 5--but close enough

Though the game has been known about for a while now, Activision today tossed out a few official scraps of details on the upcoming Guitar Hero 5. Players will be able to tackle the game’s tracks with any instrument combination they see fit. Want to sing through a song with three other friends all using microphones? Go ahead.

It’s an interesting mechanic to put into a rhythm game–certainly one that isn’t “authentic” as far real bands go (though, yes, these games aren’t meant to be taken literally). And while we’ve been somewhat biased in favor of Harmonix’s Rock Band titles (or, at least Nick and Doug have), I personally find the gameplay freedom Neversoft’s offering to be great. Add-in the beginnings of a solid-looking track list and the new instant difficulty/instrument swapping, and the next Guitar Hero game might turn out to be one actually worthy of the franchise’s name.

You'd certainly be happy too if you were SOE

You'd certainly be happy too if you were SOE

Free Realms, Sony Online Entertainment’s recently released free-to-play MMO, has already achieved 1,000,000 registered player accounts in under three weeks’ time. The “free” concept might tarnish these numbers a bit considering the zero-cost entry level for gamers to go and be wizards, but it’s still an impressive amount of people willing to try out an American company’s take on the international concept of micro-transaction gameplay. Also, there’s a trading card game within the MMO. I almost feel compelled to try it now.

You are encouraged to fear Mann Co., but that fear comes with the gentle and stern guidance of a near-naked Australian

You are encouraged to fear Mann Co., but that fear comes with the gentle and stern guidance of a near-naked Australian

Though we already mentioned Valve’s impending Team Fortress 2 update, they’re not quite done yet: The next Team Fortress 2 serving of additional content will also be a…gasp…Spy-oriented extravaganza! You have to love the design team’s miniature poster announcements, with their clever wording and immersion into the strange world of TF2’s 1960s super villain culture. Plus, who doesn’t get a kick out of Mann Co.’s CEO (and Australian), Saxton Hale. The name and trouser-shorts simultaneously scream manliness.

And finally, a closing treat for you: BioWare today released a dual-purpose teaser and pre-E3 video for Mass Effect 2. What else can I say but “Wow.”

Enjoy, and have a great weekend. We’ll be posting some great stuff over this weekend and throughout next week, so keep coming back for more!

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