konami

Last week Gerbil Physics went up on the Marketplace a bit early, and it’s happened again this week. Somebody at the big MS is on the ball! Anyway, you can now buy this week’s Xbox Live release, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012.

What’s new in PES 2012? Well, you can’t tell from the official description, which sounds just about identical. Here it is:

  • Unrivalled realism: Experience incredible gameplay and focus on tactics, goals and winning trophies while competing against the most advanced team and player AI on the market. Striking animations such as referee cut-scenes or goal celebrations and technical moves (diving header, bicycle kick, and more) will make you feel the beauty of the game.
  • Exclusive UEFA Club Competitions: PES 2012 includes many of the best European club teams in the officially licensed UEFA Champions League™ and UEFA Europa League™ modes.
  • Online connectivity: Prove your skills and unlock the various Xbox LIVE achievements, compare yourself to your friends, make it to the top of the leaderboards and become the world’s greatest PES player.
  • Outstanding Accessibility for Beginners and Experts: The uniquely designed true flow™ control system provides instant access for players of all levels by utilising the accelerometer and AI-supported touch controls. More advanced players are presented with unlimited freedom of play by being able to master classic console-style controls with virtual pad and buttons.
  • Stunning graphics: Detailed stadiums, pitches and weather effects provide the perfect visual environment for exciting matches
  • Avatar awards: These aren't listed in the official description, but we have it on good authority that they're coming in the near future.

Hmm... One of those bullet points doesn't add up. Having played both PES 2011 on Windows Phone and PES 2012 on Xbox 360, I can tell you without a doubt that this series is not accessible for beginners. It’s an extremely realistic and challenging depiction of soccer, which is great for people who’ve been playing it for years. Me, I just couldn’t get overcome the learning curve. You might also consider that the PES 2011 was delisted from the Marketplace without warning, which will likely happen to 2012 once next year’s version gets closer to release. Hopefully Microsoft starts allowing users to back up or redownload delisted games between now and then, but I’m not holding my breath.

Enough commentary! Football/soccer fans who want to play their sport on Windows Phone can’t do any better than Pro Evolution Soccer, and that’s what matters. PES 2012 costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Natres for the tip!

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It’s been a while since an Xbox Live game has been pulled from the Marketplace. Last year, Fast & Furious: Adrenaline, Star Wars Cantina, and Star Wars: Battle for Hoth all got pulled at once. Besides that, the beleaguered Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst was taken down for good, and Twin Blades got temporarily pulled. Now we can add another game to the delisted list: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (aka PES 2011) from Konami.

As with the previous pulled games, no warning was given before PES 2011 got yanked. Some have speculated its removal is due to PES 2012’s impending release. It is true that once PES 2012 comes out, nobody will want to buy the previous version. But is there any harm in allowing 2011 to collect virtual dust alongside its successor? After all, once a game has been pulled, people who already purchased that game can no longer redownload it. Removing a game every time its sequel comes around isn’t very fair to customers.

We’ve contacted Konami and Microsoft for comment and will update if they’re able to shed some light on the subject.

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Avatar awards have been a popular feature in Xbox 360 titles for some time now. Basically, some console titles include unlockable items for player’s Xbox Live avatars. It’s a nice way to deck out your avatar without specifically buying avatar goods.

Of course, one of the hopes of Xbox fans who buy into Windows Phone is that mobile Xbox Live titles will eventually match their console big brother’s games feature for feature. Toward that end,  Microsoft teased the addition of avatar awards to Windows Phone games back in August (if not sooner). Yet no specific games or time frame has been mentioned… until now.

Avatar Awards, a little site run by our own reader DarkSynopsis, has happened across the first tangible evidence of a Windows Phone title with avatar awards. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012, sequel to this year’s PES 2011, looks to have both a shirt (in both male and female varieties) and a soccer ball prop for players to adorn their avatars. The ball will be easy to unlock (win a single match), while the shirt’s requirement of 50 wins sounds a bit more grueling.

We don’t know when PES 2012 is coming or whether other mobile games will include avatar awards before Konami’s soccer sequel debuts. At any rate, gamers who dig avatars (like me!) now at least know the feature is really happening in the near future.

Source: Avatar Awards; Thanks, 24AMonth, for the tip!

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If you’ll pardon the pun, Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night is a hidden gem in the mobile Xbox Live lineup. The $6.99 price has kept many gamers from entering Dracula’s labyrinthine castle… Until now! Castlevania Puzzle is finally on sale for $4.99 this week. Encore of the Night reworks Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the most beloved entry in the Castlevania franchise, as a puzzle RPG. It offers 15-20 hours of adventuring, a fine story, and some of the best music of any Windows Phone game, hands down. Puzzle Quest 2 fans will find Castlevania’s puzzle battles are much more frantic and challenging since here your pieces never stop dropping, nor do the enemy’s. For an in-depth look at the puzzle and RPG mechanics, check out our full review. Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night is on sale for one week only. Grab it here on the Marketplace

If you’ll pardon the pun, Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night is a hidden gem in the mobile Xbox Live lineup. The $6.99 price has kept many gamers from entering Dracula’s labyrinthine castle… Until now! Castlevania Puzzle is finally on sale for $4.99 this week.

Encore of the Night reworks Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the most beloved entry in the Castlevania franchise, as a puzzle RPG. It offers 15-20 hours of adventuring, a fine story, and some of the best music of any Windows Phone game, hands down. Puzzle Quest 2 fans will find Castlevania’s puzzle battles are much more frantic and challenging since here your pieces never stop dropping, nor do the enemy’s. For an in-depth look at the puzzle and RPG mechanics, check out our full review.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night is on sale for one week only. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

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PES 2011 - Review

For those who aren't aware of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), it's a series of football (soccer to some parts of the world) games by Konami that began back in 2001. It sports similar gameplay to the likes of Fifa by EA Games, but is put down by lack of licensing. PES2011 for Windows Phone is no exception with a handful of teams sporting unlicensed names – Man Red (Manchester United) and Man Blue (Manchester City) to name but a few.

Don't allow the above to put you off from trying PES2011 out, it really is a superb football sim for Windows Phone. There are a number of game types available including quick match, exhibition, UEFA club competition and leagues & cups with fairly challenging gameplay and intelligent AI. Head on past the break for the quick run through and video goodness.

Pros: 
Good football simSolid controlsLeagues and cups available
Cons: 
LicensingLimited gameplayAchievements too time consuming
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Sports fans who haven’t bought Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (the only sports title on Xbox Live so far) for some reason are in for a treat this week. Konami’s premiere soccer game is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week at $2.99!

PES 2011 is a surprisingly accurate recreation of the sport, with realistic tactical game play, licensed European teams, advanced A.I. and numerous authentic animations. Can you kick a soccer ball into some guy’s junk if you want? Not quite that realistic, but I digress.

Pro Evolution Soccer’s 3D graphics contribute to the realism as well. The player models, detailed stadiums, and weather effects all make for a very console-like presentation. The game features multiple control options: simple accelerometer and touch-screen controls or a virtual pad and buttons. It’s also got some very grindy Achievements, so prepare to be in it for the long haul if you want the full 200 GamerScore.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is on sale for $2.99 (down from $4.99) for one week only. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace, football fans!

(Yes, this does mark the second of Konami’s three Xbox Live games to go on sale. We’re that much closer to a Castlevania Puzzle deal!)

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Frogger - Review

Updating a classic game for modern audiences is tricky business. Change it too much and you’ll turn off people who liked the original. But stick too closely to the original and it might not appeal to today’s gamers. For examples of perfectly accurate classic ports that are unlikely to gel with people living in the now, see Asteroids Deluxe and Lunar Lander. The Windows Phone port of Frogger, oddly enough, is simultaneously too similar and too different to make much of an impression. It’s not as bad as getting hit by a car, but Konami could have done a lot better.

What qualifies Frogger as a classic? The game made quite a splash when it debuted in arcades in 1981. Its premise and game play are fairly unique: help a group of frogs cross the highway, one at a time, and make it safely to their homes. Most importantly, it inspired a terrific early Bad Religion song.

Jump across the street and past the break for our full review.

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We've known about Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 for sometime now, even that it was going to be $4.99 and sure enough, it has landed.  The application is quite hefty in size (74MB), requiring a WiFi connection to download, so best to grab it at home before heading out. From the app description (note: we removed their spelling errors, nice)

The unrivaled and award-winning football simulation is entering its first season on Windows Phone 7! Immerse yourself in unprecedented football atmosphere and the true PES experience with PES 2011. Features:

  • Unrivaled realism: Experience incredible gameplay and focus on tactics, goals and winning trophies while competing against the most advanced team and player AI on the market. Striking animations such as referee cut-scenes or goal celebrations and technical moves (diving header, bicycle kick, and more) will make you feel the beauty of the game.
  • Exclusive UEFA Club Competitions: PES 2011 includes many of the best European club teams in the officially licensed UEFA Champions League™ and UEFA Europa League™ modes.
  • Online connectivity: Prove your skills and unlock the various Xbox LIVE achievements, compare yourself to your friends, make it to the top of the leaderboards and become the world’s greatest PES player
  • Outstanding Accessibility for Beginners and Experts: The uniquely designed true flowTM control system provides instant access for players of all levels by utilizing the accelerometer and AI-supported touch controls. More advanced players are presented with unlimited freedom of play by being able to master classic console-style controls with virtual pad and buttons.
  • Stunning graphics: Detailed stadiums, pitches and weather effects provide the perfect visual environment for exciting matches

First impression: massive game with huge initial load time (even with 'NoDo'), the game is nonetheless impressive. Must for soccer fans. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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When Microsoft announced last week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week was Rocket Riot, much fanfare ensued. Will this week’s deal be as exciting? It’s…

Hexic Rush, on sale for $1.99 (down from $2.99).

Hexic Rush comes from developer Carbonated Games and publisher Microsoft Game Studios. Rush is a port of the Xbox 360 pack-in title Hexic, which was created by Alexey Pajitnov, the inventor of Tetris. Our review recommends Hexic Rush to fans of Tetris and Bejeweled, especially given that its price is lower than both of those titles. Personally, I rate Hexic only slightly above Flowerz and below pretty much every other puzzle game or watching the Weather Channel on TV. It’s also tough to unlock the full 200 GamerScore in Hexic Rush, so Achievement hunters beware.

Hexic Rush’s sale price will go live on Wednesday morning. You can grab Hexic Rush on the Marketplace here (opens a link in your Zune browser). There is a free trial, so don’t hesitate to give it a shot if you like puzzle games.

Also launching this Wednesday on Xbox Live is Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2011. It will cost $4.99. It looks like an impressive soccer/football title, with 3D graphics and multiple control options. Learn more about its features in our previous article.

Remember, you can also find the Deal of the Week and new Xbox release every Wednesday on the Xbox.com Windows Phone 7 page.

 

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Last week we brought you news of Full House Poker’s release date well in advance, and we’re pleased to be able to do it again this week. March 23’s Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7 will be Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 from Konami.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is the mobile edition of Konami’s popular soccer/football franchise. The Windows Phone 7 version is a port of the iPhone game. It’s a surprisingly accurate recreation of the sport, with realistic tactical game play, licensed European teams, advanced A.I. and numerous authentic animations. Pro Evolution Soccer’s 3D graphics (which these tiny screen shots may not convey) contribute to the realism as well. The player models, detailed stadiums, and weather effects all make for a very console-like presentation. The game features multiple control options: simple accelerometer and touch-screen controls or a virtual pad and buttons.

The only thing missing from the Windows Phone 7 version of the game is multi-player. We continue to hope and pray for the day that Microsoft allows mobile Xbox Live titles to have local Wi-Fi or online multi-player.  It will come to pass! For now, soccer fans will have to make due with 19 Xbox Live Achievements and friends Leaderboards.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 will debut on March 23. It will cost $4.99.

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Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 already has a puzzle RPG game, Namco’s Puzzle Quest 2. But that game is riddled with bugs and really wasn’t optimized for mobile platforms. Thankfully Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night from Konami shows a lot more care in making a quality puzzle RPG. In fact, it may be the best Xbox Live title released for Windows Phone 7 so far.

Castlevania has a long, proud history. The first title was released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System way back in 1987. Castlevania games tend to be action-platformers; after 1997’s Symphony of the Night, strong RPG elements became standard as well. In adapting the series to mobile platforms, Konami realized that action games don’t usually work well with touch screen controls. Prudently, Encore of the Night replaces the traditional platform jumping and battles with something new to Castlevania: puzzle battles. Role-playing elements haven’t fallen by the wayside, though, resulting in a game that is at once familiar and fresh to series veterans.

Head past the jump for our in-depth review.

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Earlier today we reported that three Xbox Live games for Windows Phone 7 dropped in price. As it turns out, one of those price drops is only temporary. Don’t worry , it’s actually good news!

Today marks the beginning of the Xbox Live Deal of the Week program. A similar program has already proven extremely successful on the Xbox 360. Every Wednesday, a different Xbox Live title will go on sale for one week only. The focus is on games that may have passed under gamers’ radars. The Deal of the Week program will give these titles a chance to shine. Unlike the Xbox 360's Deal of the Week - which is only available to Xbox Live Gold members -Windows Phone 7 Deals of the Week will be open to all Windows Phone 7 users.

This week’s Deal of the Week is Frogger from Konami Digital Entertainment. Frogger is on sale for $1.99 – 33% off its regular price of $2.99. The Windows Phone 7 version of Frogger is a faithful HD remake of Konami’s 1981 arcade game. The objective is simple: help frogs cross the dangerous highway and river to reach their homes.

We had wondered if $1.99 could be a new standard price point for Xbox Live titles (which currently come in $2.99, $4.99, or $6.99 varieties), but now we know that’s not the case. Still, it’s great to see Microsoft giving gamers a break and helping older titles reach a new audience with lower prices. The mobile Deal of the Week does not currently have a dedicated webpage, but that should be rectified soon. In the meantime, WPCentral will keep you informed about every Xbox Live deal and price drop.

Thanks to Karl Stricker at Microsoft and Alexandria Akhavan at Edelman for letting us know about the program.

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It's time to break out that old Konami code and see what treats are in store -- the longtime videogame maker is bringing a half-dozen apps to Windows Mobile in December. On tap are Dance Dance Revolution S, Mobile Pawafuru Proyakyu (a baseball game), Konami Sudoku, Konami Solitaire, and shooters Gradius II and TwinBee. The releases also coincide with the launch of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile in Japan. With the exception of Mobile Pawafuru Proyakyu, all of the games will be available in the U.S., Canada and Japan. [Akihabara News via Slashphone]

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