The game was released internationally on September 9, 2009, coinciding with the release of new, remastered compact disc versions of the Beatles' albums. It incorporates many of the gameplay features of the Rock Band series; however, it is not an expansion pack for the Rock Band series and content for it and other Rock Band titles is not cross-compatible. Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos described the game as "a new, full game title production built from the ground up". Gameplay mechanics differ slightly from previous Rock Band games, including the addition of a three-part vocalharmony system. Subsequent games in the Rock Band series would reuse these new elements, including vocal harmonies.
For the next game in the Halo trilogy, O'Donnell added new themes as well as bringing back and expanding old ones, some of which had never been recorded with a full orchestra before. The score made extensive use of the piano, an instrument which O'Donnell used frequently for composition but that had not been featured in previous Halo music. In addition to scoring the game, the music was used for promotional advertisements and trailers preceding Halo 3's release. The game's score and its soundtrack were generally well received. The soundtrack reached the Billboard 200 chart, and also broke the top twenty best-selling soundtracks and independent albums listings. The score was nominated for X-Play's "Best of 2007" awards, under best original soundtrack.
The game centers on a boy who dreams of flying while asleep in a hospital bed. The concept was partially based on lead designer Jenova Chen's childhood; he was often hospitalized for asthma and would daydream while alone in his room. Assuming the role of the boy, the player flies through a dream world and manipulates clouds to solve puzzles. The game was intended to spark emotions in the player that the video game industry usually ignored.
Gravity Bone received critical acclaim from video game journalists. It was called "a pleasure to experience" by Charles Onyett from IGN, and received comparisons to games such as Team Fortress 2 and Portal. The game was praised for its cohesive story, atmosphere and its ability to catch the player's interest over a very short time span without feeling rushed or incomplete. It received the "Best Arthouse Game" award in Game Tunnel's Special Awards of 2008. A sequel, Thirty Flights of Loving, was released in 2012.
Bloodlines is presented from first- and third-person perspectives. The player assigns their character to one of several vampire clans—each with unique powers, customizes their combat and dialog abilities and progresses through Bloodlines using violent and nonviolent methods. The selection of clan affects how the player is perceived in the game world, and which powers and abilities they possess; this opens up different avenues of exploration and methods of interacting with or manipulating other characters. The player is able to complete side missions away from the primary storyline by moving freely between the available hubs: Santa Monica, Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and Chinatown.
Melee includes all playable characters from the first game, and also adds characters from franchises such as Fire Emblem, of which no games had been released outside Japan at the time. Melee's gameplay system offers an unorthodox approach to the fighting game genre, with a counter that measures damage with increasing percentages, representing the knockback the character will experience, rather than a depleting health bar seen in most fighting games. It builds on the first game by adding new gameplay features and playable characters. Following the popularity of its multiplayer gameplay, Melee has been featured in many competitive gaming tournaments and is one of the most popular competitive fighting games. It was first released in Japan in November 2001, in the Americas in December 2001, and in Europe and Australia in May 2002.
Chung began developing Flotilla immediately after the closure of Pandemic Studios, where he had worked as a designer. The new game used assets imported from Chung's early space combat prototype, Space Piñata. Flotilla incorporates several pieces of classical music in its score, such as Chopin's "Raindrop" prelude. It received mixed reviews from video game media outlets, scoring 72 out of 100 on review aggregate website Metacritic, and was included in Mike Rose's book 250 Indie Games You Must Play.
In response to the new content, the ESRB conducted a new review of Oblivion, showing to its reviewers the content originally submitted by the game's publisher along with the newly disclosed content. The new review resulted in an M rating. The ESRB reported that Bethesda Softworks, the game's developer, would promptly notify all retailers of the change, issue stickers for retailers and distributors to affix on the product, display the new rating in all following product shipments and marketing, and create a downloadable patch rendering the topless skin inaccessible. Bethesda complied with the request, but issued a press release declaring their disagreement with the ESRB's rationale. Although certain retailers began to check for ID before selling Oblivion as a result of the change, and the change elicited criticism for the ESRB, the events passed by with little notice from the public at large. Other commentators remarked on the injustice of punishing a company for the actions of its clients, and one called the event a "pseudo-sequel" to the Hot Coffee minigame controversy.
Anachronox is a 2001 role-playing video game produced by Tom Hall and the Dallas Ion Storm games studio. The game is centered on Sylvester "Sly Boots" Bucelli, a down-and-out private investigator who looks for work in the slums of Anachronox, a once-abandoned planet near the galaxy's jumpgate hub. He travels to other planets, amasses an unlikely group of friends, and unravels a mystery that threatens the fate of the universe. The game's science fiction story was influenced by cyberpunk, film noir, and unconventional humor. The story features a theme of working through the troubles of one's past, and ends with a major cliffhanger.
The gameplay for Anachronox is turn-based; the player controls a party of up to three characters as they explore a 3D environment of futuristic cities, space vessels, and outdoor areas. Inspirations for the game include older role-playing video games such as Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series, animator Chuck Jones and the novel Ender's Game. The game was built with a heavily modified version of the id Software's id Tech 2, rewritten chiefly to allow a wider color palette, emotive animations and facial expressions, better lighting, particle effects, and camera effects.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was developed as a partnership between development studios 343 Industries, Saber Interactive, and Certain Affinity. 343 Industries, the Halo series' franchise overseers, approached Saber Interactive to develop a remake of the original Halo in time for its tenth anniversary. After considering whether to remake the game entirely or to adapt and add features to the existing PC version, Saber decided to use its game engine for reproducing the original's appearance and the original Halo's engine for gameplay. A development tool for toggling between the old and new visuals became a game feature. Anniversary's enhancements include a complete high-definition visual overhaul, support for cooperative and multiplayer gameplay via the Xbox Live online service, new and remastered sound effects and music, and extras such as achievements and hidden in-game collectibles. The game is the first in the series to include Kinect support.
Freedom Planet is a 2Dplatform video game developed and published by GalaxyTrail, a studio set up by designer Stephen DiDuro. The player controls one of three anthropomorphic animal protagonists: the dragon Lilac, the wildcat Carol, or the basset hound Milla. Aided by the duck-like Torque, the player attempts to defeat Lord Brevon, who plans to conquer the galaxy. While the game focuses on fast-paced platforming, its levels are interspersed with slower action scenes.
Portal consists primarily of a series of puzzles that must be solved by teleporting the player's character and simple objects using "the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device", a device that can create inter-spatial portals between two flat planes. The player-character, Chell, is challenged and taunted by an artificial intelligence named GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) to complete each puzzle in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center using the portal gun with the promise of receiving cake when all the puzzles are completed. The game's unique physics allows kinetic energy to be retained through portals, requiring creative use of portals to maneuver through the test chambers. This gameplay element is based on a similar concept from the game Narbacular Drop; many of the team members from the DigiPen Institute of Technology who worked on Narbacular Drop were hired by Valve for the creation of Portal, making it a spiritual successor to the game.
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