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Resident Evil 5

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The Resident Evil franchise has been one of Capcom's primary projects ever since it was first devised for the original PlayStation console. Since then, the versions that focused on the main story tree have been a benchmark for any action survival shooter with a lot of horror aspects that made fans jump out of their seats and think every movement and every shot fired three times before they acted.

Now, with Resident Evil 5, the Japanese company wants to usher it into the new generation of consoles, in terms of graphics and scale, but to also continue the legacy of one of the most successful titles in the franchise, Resident Evil 4. The characters have changed, as Leon Kennedy is replaced with the first protagonist, Chris Redfield, but a lot of things have stayed the same. Read on to see our review of Resident Evil 5.

Story
For those who are long-time fans, the title will be a mediocre stab at trying to recreate the successful recipe of Resident Evil 4. For new players, the game will be a pretty interesting, albeit annoying experience. For hardcore action-oriented gamers, RE5 will be something of a cross between a tactical shooter that has plenty of action sequences, but is filled with annoying quick time events, which break the flow of the whole title.
The story is a bit simple for what Capcom's franchise has gotten us used to, with a wide variety of sequels and spin-offs tearing to shreds the already complicated narrative plot, which, apparently from the loading screens of this game, spans even back to 1968.

Long story short, Chris Redfield is now an agent of the BSAA, an anti-bioterrorism organization, which has been dispatched to the fictional African country of Kijuju in order to investigate some suspicious activity. He is joined there by local agent Sheva Alomar, who immediately sparks memories of his former partner from the first game, Jill Valentine.

The not-so-dynamic duo are immediately introduced to a very changed territory of Kijuju, as its inhabitants have all been infected with the deadly Las Plagas virus, which has turned them into zombies just like in the last game, Resident Evil 4.

You would think that this is where the horror starts, but, unfortunately, the whole story takes you through some very picturesque sceneries, which kinda take away all of the suspense and drama of the action. The game wants you to give some soul to the characters, but, frankly, it's a hard thing to do, especially when the action is so broken up and segmented. In the end, the story and paper-thin plot only serve to place the two characters into wilder and wilder environments.

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The main characters, Chris and Sheva
Make sure you have each other's back


Gameplay

Gameplay-wise, Resident Evil 5 is a roller coaster of emotions. First of all, long-time RE fans will be right at home, but me and my colleague, who haven't played a lot of titles in the franchise, immediately began to frown on the slowness with which the characters moved and, most importantly, because they couldn't take steps in any side while they were holding a gun. This is a first warning, if you are into hardcore action titles, where running and gunning are the norm, then RE5 won't really be the game for you.

Secondly, the zombies, although most of the times quite slow, are extremely agile and, if they have you in their sight, will immediately start running towards you. This, coupled with the slowness of the characters, makes it quite difficult to fight them. Most of the times, we found ourselves running from side to side, stopping, turning back and then shooting. Wash, rinse, repeat.

RE5 tries a lot of things. First of all, it is the first game in the series that features a full-cooperative play, meaning that one of your buddies can play the lovely Sheva, while you are maneuvering the big, muscled Chris. While this is a mode designed just for fun, it becomes mandatory in later chapters, where the fact that you need to micromanage the inventory of your AI-controlled partner becomes a burden and the enemies are coming and coming.

Zombies, it seems, have become much more dangerous and smarter this time around, wielding anything from pipes to crossbows with flaming arrows attached, or throwing grenades and Molotov Cocktails in your direction. You will also fight these infected enemies while they are driving motorbikes or boats through the African savanna or swamps, respectively. Let's not forget that, during the later stages, they will be armored and running their own warships, showcasing the fact that zombies are getting smarter and smarter these days.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the whole game and a fact that drove me and my colleague very close to smashing our controllers were the dreaded quick time events. Now, I don't necessarily hate them in general, but RE5 implemented a lot of them in the most difficult ways imaginable. Not only do they arrive out of the bloom, but, usually, they come after long cut scenes, and, if you miss just one of them, then you have to wait out the unskippable cutscene once again, until you have another shot at pressing buttons as fast as you can. Another annoying thing is that they were also implemented in the middle of a cut scene, catching us a few times off guard as we were doing what gamers did when cut scenes played, that is watching them while letting the controllers out of our hands. Before we knew what hit our characters, the You Are Dead scene already appeared.

Another big drawback is the inventory system. Not only do you only have nine spaces per each character, but you can't upgrade it and, if you drop an item, for example a grenade, to pick up a healing herb for immediate use, the grenade is gone forever. Another clumsy implementation is the fact that, if you buy a protective vest, it also takes up an inventory slot, instead, like other RPG-oriented shooters, of extending its capacity. The fact that you need to bring the inventory up every time you fire a few rounds in order to combine the remaining bullets to your weapon is also quite annoying.

The cooperative nature of the gameplay is something implemented, overall, quite well, but, sometimes, it is downright funny. A lot of doors have buttons on either sides, even though the characters are massive enough (i.e. Chris) to reach the two buttons with just one hand, and the need for Sheva to push the other one is inexistent. Don't believe that, if you are two players, one can lay down suppressive fire and the other shoot, because the environments where you can actually take cover are very few and only on the ending levels. Don't forget that your enemies are zombies, which, even though they can drive or shoot complicated weapons like chain guns, are a bit on the stupid side, and will gladly soak up the damage and bullets you give them.

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Help each other ...
... when you are in trouble


Concept

Concept-wise, Capcom doesn't have anything to brag with, as, essentially, RE5 is a revamped, next-generation RE4, following the basic recipe to the letter. But while Leon actually has reasons to fear the infected people and the environments in the last game, Chris, and his big muscles, is throwing caution into the wind and rushing straight into the action.

The cooperative gameplay is a nice touch, but, as I've said, has its awkward moments and the mandatory sections where the two players are divided have odd reasonings behind them. In terms of continuing the story, the game has just introduced a few new variables, which are certain to leave long-time fans unsatisfied, and the new players a bit baffled.

Visuals and Audio

In terms of graphics, RE5 is stunning, to say the least. The environments are extremely detailed, the characters are also customized to the smallest detail, even with the veins running through Chris' big biceps. Sheva is extremely good-looking and, through her special moves, behaves very naturally, even though a bit clunky.

The world of Kijuju is a breathtaking one, as environments such as the African savanna while the sun is setting are pictures that I won't forget very easily. All of the scenarios are well built, even though they can get a bit repetitive in some areas.

In terms of sound, the game lives up to its expectations, but doesn't go overboard and won't make a big impression on you. The once-might orchestral score, which struck fear into any RE player, is now reduced to a few chimes when big enemies arrive or when the zombies' dogs pop out from where they are hiding.

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Zombies can now ride motorbikes
And they also have "cuddly" pets


Multiplayer

RE5 doesn't have a concrete multiplayer mode, unless you can count the DLC add-on Versus mode, which isn't included in the retail box, so we haven't tried it out. Instead, the cooperative side of the game extends to the online medium, meaning that you can play with a friend from anywhere around the world, and communicate through headsets, even though we preferred staying within the arms' and shouting's reach by playing in the split-screen mode.

Conclusion

It's hard to give a verdict on RE5. On the one hand, it is a pretty good action survival shooter, even though it lacks any horror whatsoever. On the other hand, the quick time events are the first things that pop into my mind when I hear the game's name, meaning that its lasting memory isn't very good.

Activision Unveils DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero

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Music games are currently one of the biggest money makers for the companies behind them because they offer a wide variety of profit sources, starting from the classic retail sales and expanding to DLC and peripheral sales, thus delivering corporations such as Activision quite a lot of money.

Now, after unveiling some very impressive sales data for its Guitar Hero franchise, the company has just announce three more titles that will arrive in autumn into the franchise and expand it to new territories. Besides the Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and Modern Hits, which will arrive for consoles and the DS respectively, music fans will also get a chance to play DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero.

In conclusion, it seems that Activision is bent on keeping us fueled with more and more Guitar Hero titles and to continue making huge amounts of money from the plethora of titles. Hopefully though the market won't get saturated by all of these products and reject any other music game.
In case all the Heroes have you confused, here's a breakdown of what these titles will consist of and what they want to bring to the whole genre. DJ Hero aims at introducing hip-hop, R&B, electronica, dance and house fans to music games as it will feature a turntable controller that will turn everyday players into DJs who must rule the club scene and create original mixes of popular songs.

Guitar Hero 5 will be the next step in the franchise's evolution as it will not only feature the hottest rock-and-roll artists as well as classic performers but will also give players more control over how the game is played with the ability to drop in and out of songs and change anything from band members to instruments and difficulty settings on the fly.

Band Hero will be the first E10+ rated console game making it ideal for the whole family who wants a great experience with its younger kids. It will feature an exciting music collection with top-40 hits that have been carefully chosen to make new players fall in love with the franchise. The possibility of playing on guitar, drums, bass and microphone is also present with the same easy-to-play, difficult-to-master signature gameplay.

A photo of the DJ Hero controller

“Guitar Hero has made music social again and has become one of the most popular ways to experience music,” said Dan Rosensweig, president and chief executive officer of the Guitar Hero franchise. “Today’s fans enjoy a variety of music and are looking for more ways to engage with their favourite songs, artists and fellow fans. These games will let them listen, participate and socialize with music in ways they have never been able to before.”

Intel and Novell Collaborate on Accelerating the Moblin Adoption

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Setting the stage for the upcoming Moorestown platform and a new wave of Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), Santa Clara, California-based Intel has recently announced a collaboration with Novell. According to the chip maker, the fresh partnership is meant to accelerate the adoption of Moblin, a Linux-based software platform that has been specifically designed for upcoming MIDs. The combined software and hardware platform is focused on delivering a rich Internet experience, powered by Intel's upcoming line of low-power Atom processors.

“Novell has taken a significant leadership role in the Moblin community since joining the effort late last year, and today's announcement will extend Novell's level of involvement,” said Doug Fisher, vice president of Intel's Software and Services Group and general manager of the System Software Division. “The combination of Intel Atom processor-based platforms and Moblin-based Novell software will provide even more opportunities for OEMs, ODMs and the broader Moblin community to deliver excellent mobile Internet solutions.”

The partnership between the two companies is meant to promote Moblin for adoption by OEMs and ODMs, which will be able to use it in their upcoming Intel-based MIDs. As part of the agreement between the two, Novell will establish the Novell Open Labs in Taiwan and work with the Taiwan Moblin Enabling Center (MEC), offering support and validation for manufacturers that will design the upcoming MIDs.


The Moblin platform was launched by the world's leading chip manufacturer in 2007, as an in-house effort to develop the next-generation Internet-capable computing device. However, late last year, the project was welcomed into the arms of the Linux Foundation with Intel still providing a significant contribution. Novell joined the project in October 2008 and is responsible for key operating system features such as window, e-mail and media management. Signing the partnership with Intel, Novell confirms its commitment to further develop the Moblin platform.

Man Delivers Baby After Watching YouTube

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The wonders of social media never seize to amaze even the most skeptical of us. In a recent example, a man was helped in delivering a baby into this world by an instructional video posted online, on famous video-sharing site YouTube. A UK engineer, from Redruth, Cornwall, brought his infant son into the world on his own, after learning how to do it from a simple video posted on YouTube. Though his wife spent quite some time in labor, an ambulance couldn't reach their location in time, so the people had to improvise and resolve the situation as best as they could.

Marc Stephens, the man in question, felt the need to watch some instructional videos on the matter when his wife, Jo, started feeling that it was time to give birth. The contractions were increasing in number with each minute, and the engineer simply sat down and started watching a few video clips on how to handle such situations.

“I Googled how to deliver a baby, watched a few videos and basically swotted up. The videos gave me peace of mind. I think I would have coped, but watching videos made things much easier,” the man told the BBC.

“I woke up and realized I was having contractions every five minutes. I woke Marc up and we phoned the midwife, but they were all so busy they couldn't come round to our house and told us to call an ambulance. But before it arrived, it all started,” Mrs. Stephens, who had planned a home birth all along, although not quite so sudden and abrupt, shared.

“This is our fourth child now and while for our first I spent most of the time at my wife's head, now I'm not afraid to go down to the business end. I was still on the phone to the midwife and told her that 'this is it,'” the man added, saying that he felt little to no emotions – other than the good kind, of course – and told that his training as a member of the Royal Navy helped him a lot in that regard.

According to the British media, after the birth was successfully completed, and the 5lbs 5oz Gabriel was safely born, the couple rushed down to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, in Treliske, only to have doctors give both the mother and the son a clean bill of health.

Windows 7 RC API Code Pack for .NET Framework

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Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework is designed to permit developers to access a range of features associated with the next iteration of Windows that are not available in .NET Framework, in managed code. Essentially, the package contains the source code library for features implemented in Windows 7, and even in Windows Vista. Version 0.85 of Windows 7 RC API Code Pack for .NET Framework went live following the availability of the first and only Release Candidate of Windows 7, which
was served to MSDN and TechNet subscribers on April 30 and to the public on May 5.

“As a part of the Windows 7 RC release wave, the Windows SDK team has released the “Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework (v0.85)”. What is this code pack you may ask? This .NET source code supports new Windows 7 light-up developer features including the following: Shell features, Direct 3D 11.0, and Sensor Platform APIs,” revealed Gavin Gear, program manager at Microsoft for Windows SideShow.

The current release of the library is tailored to Windows 7 RC Build 7100. However, this does not mean that developers won't be able to use the release with Windows 7's precursors. Among the features made available with version 0.85, Microsoft enumerated: Windows 7 Task Dialogs; Windows 7 Explorer Browser Control supporting both WPF and Windows Forms; Helpers for Windows 7 Taskbar Jumplists, Icon Overlay and Progress bar; support for Windows Vista and Windows 7 common file dialogs; Support for Direct3D 11.0 and DXGI 1.0/1.1 APIs; Sensor Platform APIs; and Extended Linguistic Services APIs.

“This is a preview release, so it may change between now and RTM, but it does enable you to code against these features with your favorite .NET language for Windows 7. The sensor API code even includes samples (For accelerometer and light sensor) that show off the capabilities of the Windows 7 Sensor Development Kit hardware,” Gear added.

YouTube Downloader 2.1.7

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t's software that allows you to download videos from YouTube and many others and convert them to other video formats. The program is easy to use, just specify the URL for the video you want to download and click the Ok! It also allows you to convert downloaded videos for iPod, iPhone, PSP, Cell Phone, Windows Media, XVid and MP3. Allows you to access YouTube videos for which you need to be 18+ years of age. Now, plays videos downloaded.

Version 2.1.7 now supports most of your favorite video sites including Yahoo Video and Daily Motion.

Download