Level-Up!: Computer games column

Entertainment

It has been pointed out to me that I neglected, two weeks ago, to mention that in Japan – and only in Japan for like, the next six months – the new Pokemon game has come out. These ones are called ‘Black’ and, unsurprisingly, ‘White’, which disappoints me because I was always rather tribal about whether you had Pokemon Red or Pokemon Blue and it’s a well known fact that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. Lord of the Flies-style social divisions and Micheal Jackson references aside, though, supposedly these ones are meant to be a little less identical to the old games – having an apparently all-new cast of Pocket Monsters.
More relevant to the UK market is the news Rock Band 3 is coming out pretty soon, and if you don’t know about it you should probably be pretty excited. Unlike Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (wince) which came out a couple of weeks ago but is pretty much the same game as before with little plastic guitars (now ‘axes’) and lame DEATH METAL voice overs, Rock Band 3 seems pretty genuinely innovative. There’s a whole new instrument, a full 2-octave midi keyboard on which you can play songs exactly as you would on a normal keyboard at highest difficulty settings. Similarly, and even more impressively, there’s also a brand new ‘real’ Fender guitar controller for the game – you know, with strings and frets and all that nonsense – which is also fully usable as a normal electric guitar. In other words, you could now play Rock Band with someone playing keyboard, someone playing guitar, someone on an electronic drum kit and someone singing, which seems pretty damn awesome.
One more small piece of news to play us out this week. If you owned and/or played a friend’s copy of Left 4 Dead or its sequel, there’s a new piece of downloadable content out called The Sacrifice, which somewhat unusually is available for both games. As the name implies, it involves a pretty cool player-based, um, sacrifice. It’s worth picking up the L4D2 version if you have both games as the sequel’s also includes one of the original campaigns updated with all the its predecessor’s new bits. That said, it’s undoubtedly going to be a blast on both. Besides, if you’re a fresher, what better way to solidify burgeoning friendships than by giving your very life to help your new found comrades escape the zombie apocalypse?
Until next time, have fun, take care, play games.

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