Tom Clancy's EndWar

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Xbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round 18

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round 18

Skate 2, Silent Hill, EndWar, NFS, Sonic, Argonauts.

It's that time again. If the recent F.E.A.R. 2 and Street Fighter IV features did not sate your face-off needs adequately, we're back with the more traditional roundup format, boasting a six-strong set of releases that collectively sum up both the good and the bad of multiformat development as it stands right now. And this month's assortment adds a new meaning to the term 'cross-platform', as we get to see what PS2-era assets look like in a brand new PS3/360 game!

As per the norm, we've worked hard in bringing you the best-possible assets to show you how the games compare on both platforms: that'll be digitally lossless 24-bit full-range RGB grabs freshly and brutally culled from the HDMI ports of our PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite, and accompanying h264-encoded videos from the same sources. You all know the score by now - streaming video actually becomes relevant for the purpose here, by slowing down the video and zooming in on a section of the screen, with one pixel in the excellent Eurogamer video player equating to one pixel on your HDTV.

So, bearing in mind the additional title-specific coverage you've been enjoying of late, there's a somewhat pared-down roster this time, combining some of the most recent 2009 releases with a bunch of high-profile 2008 tail-enders that worked hard in avoiding our radar.

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LBP costumes lead PSN update

LBP costumes lead PSN update

Festive cupboards filled with goods.

Sony has restocked the PlayStation Store cupboards to include a free Santa outfit for LittleBigPlanet. Ho ho ho.

The same game also hails the arrival of four Street Fighter-themed costumes, featuring togs worn by Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile and Zangief. These are GBP 1.59 a pop, or all four for GBP 4.79.

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - Revenge of the Plague Lord is up for grabs at GBP 15.99. And full games NBA Live '09 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09 can be downloaded for GBP 29.99 and GBP 31.99, respectively.

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EndWar gets Escalation Pack DLC

Plus 4v4 multiplayer mode update.

Ubisoft plans to release an Escalation Pack for Tom Clancy's EndWar on Xbox 360 and PS3 today. That's the plan; there's nothing on either online service just yet.

Tom Clancy's EndWar

Tom Clancy's EndWar

Better not have soldier headset.

The end of oil may be bad news for motorists, but it's been solid fuel for game developers, who seem to agree that the result will be superpowers jabbing nuclear fingers at one another. THQ's Frontlines toyed with the idea earlier this year, and now it's Ubisoft's turn to speculate on what might happen if Russia, Europe and the USA find themselves squabbling over diminishing natural resources.

If that's well within the Clancy comfort zone, however, EndWar itself is not. It's a console real-time strategy game, attempting to get around the issues that have dogged the genre outside of its PC home for years.

Developer Ubisoft Shanghai goes about this in two ways. The first is an intuitive two-pronged control system, ideally suited to the demands of the armchair strategist, designed to overcome the relative limitations of the control pad. Players command their forces with a superbly implemented voice-recognition system, in conjunction with a refined context-sensitive set of pad controls, and both elements are precise and fast. The lack of mouse control is no longer something to curse in the heat of battle.

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Tom Clancy's EndWar

Talking to the TV: now cool.

Many years ago, I owned a computer with a very rudimentary voice-operated word processor on it. I can't remember the name of the particular bit of software, which is probably handy from a legal point of view given what I'm about to say about it, but I do remember that it was a dazzlingly effective piece of technology, so long as what you required was an easy means of taking letters, shopping lists, CVs and college essays, and transforming them into conceptually challenging works of modernist free association. It was a lovely idea, but it didn't work.

Pre-order EndWar for 360, get beta access

Pre-order EndWar for 360, get beta access

Try out the multiplayer bits and everything.

Ubisoft has confirmed to Eurogamer the first people to pre-order Tom Clancy's EndWar for Xbox 360 will get access to the open beta.

As reported by IGN, Ubi is billing the beta as a "VIP demo". Those taking part will be able to try out the multiplayer element of the game and help out with an online stress test.

The VIP demo will begin in early October. Access tokens are limited and will be dished out on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Tom Clancy's EndWar

All mouth?

Eurogamer is stirring. "That's completely unfair!" bleats Michael de Plater, with a whiff of the naughty schoolboy, in his unmistakable south Australian drawl. "I've been really good on cutting stuff!" pleads the man who is creative director on Tom Clancy's EndWar, the voice-commanded console RTS that embraces Anglo-Saxon accents of all flavours, from Camden to Canberra, with several tongues in-between.

EndWar gets gesture controls

Wave goodbye to your enemies.

Not content with shaking up the RTS genre with voice-driven gameplay, Ubisoft's Shanghai team has just implemented a gesture-based system in EndWar that lets you perform Minority Report-style screen manipulation using a console camera.

Tom Clancy's EndWar

Fighting talk.

Yeah, it works. Best to get that out of the way early. Because if you've been paying the slightest attention to Ubisoft Shanghai's ambitious and risky attempt to reinvent the real-time strategy genre on console, it really all boils down to one question. And that, in short, is the answer. Voice command in EndWar? It works. Really well, actually.

FeatureTom Clancy's EndWar

Kill by mouth.

"I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but I do know World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

EndWar factions revealed

Europe vs. Russia vs. US.

Ubisoft has whipped the wrappers off the three factions in real-time strategy console game Tom Clancy's EndWar.

EndWar beta test in November

EndWar beta test in November

Says creative director.

Tom Clancy's EndWar will be publicly beta-tested later this year, judging by comments made by creative director Michael de Plater in an interview with Eurogamer. Ooh, that's us.

"We really believe that as soon as anyone can get their hands on the controls and experience it, it'll be something new and it's a level of immersion and realism and accessibility that's never really been in a strategy game," he said during Ubisoft's Parisian showcase yesterday.

"We're really focusing on getting our beta-test out for November."

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FeatureTom Clancy's EndWar

Go left. Gooooo left. LEFT. I SAID LEFT. (So, none of that.)

With its console focus EndWar might seem like an obvious riposte to EA's Command & Conquer and Lord of the Rings strategy games, but speaking to creative director Michael de Plater at UbiDays, we're told that's not the case. There's no base-building, the camera's almost third-person, and the focus is on battle tactics, with Total War-style squads - infantry, artillery, tanks and the like - issued orders via pad and headset, and relatively limited reinforcement available to bail you out.

EndWar is voice activated

Hands-free Clancy.

Tom Clancy's EndWar will be playable using only voice commands, Ubisoft revealed in its Ubidays press conference, although there will also be the option to use a joypad.

Ubi unveils Tom Clancy's EndWar

Ubi unveils Tom Clancy's EndWar

"100% next-gen" strategy game.

Ubisoft has unveiled Tom Clancy's EndWar - a strategy game with online multiplayer for next-generation consoles, set on the battlefields of World War III. Yes, three.

Due out on next generation consoles in fiscal year 2007/2008 (i.e. by the end of March 2008), it's described as "a revolutionary war strategy game" that "will push the standards of technology, showcasing artificial intelligence, graphics, physics and animations that were not possible prior to the launch of the new hardware systems".

It's being put together by Ubisoft Shanghai, and the publisher's touting it as "the first 100 percent next-generation Tom Clancy brand".

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