T-Mobile kicks off the second day of Mobile World Congress 2010 with the announcement that they'll be bringing the highly coveted HTC HD2 to the U.S. market. This Windows Mobile smartphone is equipped with a 4.3-inch WVGA multitouch screen, a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, Wi-Fi, and plenty of other goodies like compatibility with Blockbuster's OnDemand video app, a Barnes & Noble eReader app, MobiTV, and six months of free in-flight Wi-Fi courtesy of Gogo Inflight Internet. T-Mobile says it expects to ship the HD2 in Spring 2010. T-Mobile also announced its plans to roll out HSPA+ … Read more
BARCELONA, Spain--The HTC Legend is legen- ... wait for it, wait for it ... dary. Any "How I Met Your Mother" fans out there? No? OK, fine. What we're trying to say here is that the HTC Legend is pretty awesome.
Though we had to run to another meeting after HTC's news conference, we stopped by its booth afterward for some brief hands-on time with the … Read more
BARCELONA, Spain--On Tuesday, HTC announced three new smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2010: the HTC Legend, the HTC Desire, and the HTC HD Mini. The trio represents some of the first devices that really showcase the efforts of San Francisco-based design firm One & Co since it was acquired by HTC back in December 2008. In addition, they offer an enhanced Sense experience and expand HTC's Android and Windows Mobile offerings. Let's meet each of them, shall we?
For some, the words "El Dorado" represent something magical, a place where untold riches and beauty are there for the taking.
For others, the words represent a much underrated album by the Electric Light Orchestra from 1974.
Still, it is the former that has interested historians, archaeologists, and greedy people for many centuries. There are many legends, some more plausible than others. Yet many seem to have located this wondrous place in Colombia.
While plenty of people are still readily awaiting a sequel to Mario Kart DS or New Super Mario Bros., it didn't take Nintendo much time at all to shoot off a follow-up to its 2007 Nintendo DS Zelda adventure, The Phantom Hourglass.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, set 100 years after Phantom Hourglass and set in a very similar cell-shaded cartoonish universe, at first looks like it might be a pale shadow of the first touch-screen DS game, swapping out train travel for long boat voyages. We were a little surprised and skeptical when the game was first announced, especially since train travel sounds a lot more passive than sailing. After riding around with Link for a weekend, did our opinion change?
Scott: I admit, I was originally dubious about Zelda: Spirit Tracks' ability to be as good as its predecessor, Phantom Hourglass. However, to my pleasant surprise, Spirit Tracks is not only a true sequel to Phantom Hourglass, it's also equally good. In fact, in some ways it's even better.
To address first: the trains in this game are set on tracks that traverse a series of small towns and other locations, and pulling up at destinations is essentially the same as docking your boat in Phantom Hourglass. Actually, the train controls are a bit simpler to operate on the go. The rest of the game, including its focus on a central mega-dungeon that unlocks secrets throughout, is very reminiscent of the first DS Zelda. That's not so bad, though--we'd take more of Phantom Hourglass and less of many other crappy DS games any day of the week.
The storyline, which features evil trains, floating towers, and a floating Zelda spirit that helps haunt statues to do your bidding in co-op puzzle solving, is both bizarre and clever, and is closest to the N64 cult classic Majora's Mask in terms of how it feels thematically. Nintendo's greatest achievement is how it adopts charming dialogue and characters to sell us this absurd tale and not have it feel stale or stilted--it's what makes the Zelda games more approachable to a newcomer than some of Square Enix's numerous RPGs.
After a few hours of play, the train riding aspect fades into the background, and Spirit Tracks is about the things all Zelda games are about: finding small towns, unlocking side quests, getting weapons, conquering dungeon puzzles. It's as classic as any Zelda game before it.… Read more
Thanks to the popular XDA Forums, we now have a pretty good idea of what HTC is planning for new Google Android handsets in 2010. Among them are new designs that differ from the company's standard touch-screen candy bar models that we've seen this year.
The images scanned from a brochure indicate that the Taiwanese manufacturer is grouping its handsets into targeted demographic categories. While the Legend appears to be a descendant of the Hero and Droid Eris, the Salsa brings a BlackBerry feel to Android with its four-row portrait QWERTY design. Both phones fall into HTC's … Read more
Book of Legends is an adventure game. Charleston Black, a young historian, discovers the long-lost Book of Legends and sends it to his sister Zoe, a student of archaeology. Zoe directs her brother via cell phone on an adventure to unravel the secrets the book holds. Players hunt for clues to help Zoe and Charleston find King Arthur's fabled sword, called Excalibur, using the Book of Legends as their guide.
This game features colorful and realistic graphics, and Zoe and Charleston talk to one another as you help them along on their adventure. The dialogue between the siblings has … Read more
We've written before about Brutal Legend, the just-released video game starring big-screen funnyman Jack Black. Produced by Tim Schafer, who has several cult classics (from Grim Fandango to Psychonauts) under his belt, the game has built up a lot of positive industry buzz, but is also in danger of being overshadowed by a flood of fall 2009 blockbusters, from Uncharted 2 to The Beatles: Rock Band.
Does Brutal Legend--a wide-ranging action/adventure about a foul-mouthed heavy metal band roadie who gets smacked on the head and wakes up in a D&D-style fantasy land--have what it takes to rock gamers this holiday season?
Dan: Having seen and played a few segments of the game at different times over the past eight months, I was eager to have a chance to spend a weekend playing through a bigger chunk of the main campaign. Several hours in, Brutal Legend has done an overall excellent job of treading the very fine line between comedy and gameplay--but not without some serious stumbles along the way.
I'd be the first to say I'm not a Jack Black "fan," but this is clearly a role he was born to play. He's apparently into it as well, and shows up as himself for a clever live-action intro video. The game's writing is sharp, even if much of it is clearly constructed from contextual one-liners that Black's character, Eddie Rigg, spouts off in a semi-random fashion.
But we ended up having more fun listening to the dialog than playing the game itself. Brutal Legend doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a hack-and-slash action game, an open-world exploration RPG, or a squad strategy game--as Eddie picks up small armies of head-banging locals to order around with basic follow/stay/attack D-pad commands.
Perhaps trying to mash all these genres together caused a few of the rough, unfinished edges we saw. Cut scenes and in-game dialog crashed awkwardly into each other, cutting off characters mid-sentence. Transitions between dialog and action scenes were abrupt and sometimes disorienting.
But despite some muddled ideas, we kept going back for more, drawn in by the Frank Frazetta-style art (think '70s metal album covers) and inside baseball music biz jokes--and as someone who has spent some time in a self-parodying heavy metal band, that's high praise.
Jeff: It's tough to name a game that has as much hype this. It's probably because of the talent involved in the game; Jack Black has sported a Brutal Legend T-shirt everywhere he's gone for the last year and voice work comes from rock legends like Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) and Ozzy Osbourne.
Brutal Legend is unique, in that you'll experience a variety of gameplay genres mashed up together inside. The game incorporates open-world driving, action/adventure, real-time strategy, and elements of role-playing.
If there's one thing the game does right, it's establishing the metal atmosphere.… Read more
Get ready to have your faces melted, because Brutal Legend finally comes out today for XBox 360 and the PS3. To quote Jeff, the game is a "metal fan's absolute fantasy come true." It stars Jack Black as the voice of Eddie Riggs, a roadie for a metal band that must fight off metal-infused demons to save the world. Unfortunately, Jeff has some criticism about the game that might influence your buying decision.
Speaking of video games, though, it just so happens that Uncharted 2 also comes out today exclusive to Playstation 3, although it's already garnering excellent reviews from critics, including our own Dan Ackerman. The game is essentially the male-centric version of Tomb Raider, a take on the Indiana Jones adventure-style franchise. The antihero of the story, Nathan Drake, acts as a treasure hunter and art thief for hire, and it's up to you to navigate him across the world as he battles through firefights and explores virtually limitless environments that add to the overall realism of the game. Can't decide between Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2? Jeff's got your answer on today's show!
Big congratulations goes out to Natali Del Conte for making onto Manolith's list of the 12 hottest geeky girls in tech! NDC joins the ranks of other Internet hotties like Jade Raymond, Jessica Chobot, Morgan Webb, and more, so be sure to take a peek at the list and let us know who YOU think is missing! Don't even think about nominating Wilson...he's booked solid for the next decade.
Finally, it's my turn to choose the Beck's Beer Semi-Weekly Audio Draft Pick! Today's band is Raisinhill, a couple of talented chums hailing from Redding, Conn., who play a modernized version of up-tempo jazz/rock fusion. The trio are all classically trained and use their wide range of talents to create their dancey jams.
We understand that today's generation probably isn't running to record stores to pick up jazz CDs, so we're hoping you'll keep an open mind with Raisinhill and appreciate their instrumental talents. Besides, any band endorsed by Mr. Belding, Ron Jeremy, and Napoleon Dynamite HAS to be pretty good. The songs of the day are called "Nameless" and "The Ridge." You can listen to both songs on their MySpace page. If you like what you hear, you can buy their self-titled album as well. Enjoy!EPISODE 444 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video