Wii U? Mass Effect 3? Madden 13? All-Stars Battle Royale? Lots of Friday gaming thoughts!

Lots of gaming points I want to post about before this weekend, and I plan to get a review up of the Turtle Beach headset up at the end of the day for all of you to peruse of the weekend so you can see why that headset fizzled for me.

First up, I've been a big fan of Mass Effect 3's bonus weekend content, and after Bioware announced that these events would now be bi-weekly (as opposed to weekly like they were the month after release) in hopes of establishing better objectives, I'm very curious to see what direction these go from here on out.  This weekend is Operation Exorcist and here's the breakdown:

Operation EXORCIST April 27-29

When it comes to retrieving classified data, Cerberus has been beating the allied forces to the punch. New intelligence has tipped us off to one of their offensives, and it is time to give the N7 teams the payback they want.

Allied Goal: Kill 1,000,000 Cerberus Phantoms
Squad Goal: Survive until extraction on any map and any enemy on Gold difficulty.

Successful completion of the Allied Goal will grant all players a Victory Pack.
Successful completion of the squad goal awards a Commendation Pack to all squadmates.

Operation Exorcist will run from 6:00PM PST, Friday April 27th until 5:00AM PST, Monday April 30th. Exorcist will be available on PC and Xbox 360 only. Please remember to set “Upload Gameplay Feedback” to “on” in the online options to be able to participate in Operation Exorcist.

Next up, I've seen a bit of content about the Wii U, including an article by IGN talking about some of the Wii U details that were revealed by a Rayman Trailer.  It shows some of the power of the system and shows off some of the uses of the tablet, including objects being placed on the touchscreen to add a different spin on the game interactions.  There are also articles discussing that while Nintendo does plan to talk a great deal about the Wii U at E3 this year, they are not going to release a luanch date or price at that time.  They did reveal however that there will be retail games available by both disc and download at launch time.  Any thoughts on the Wii U and this information so far?

Moving on to a new console, I had mentioned IGN teasing a new PlayStation IP earlier in the week and they did reveal it this morning.  A lot of people, myself included, thought that it would be the official of the Sony Super Smash Bros. style fighter, and it turns out that this was in fact the announcement.  The game is being called PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. 

Previously believed to be called Title Fight, this title is under development by SuperBot Entertainment with assistance from Santa Monica Studio.  So far only six of the game's characters have been shown, but Sony promises more during the lead-up to the game's release.  Currently listed: Fat Princes, Parappa the Rapper, Sly Cooper, Sweet Tooth, Colonel Radec (Killzone) and Kratos.  There is some speculation that the game will release in time for the holidays this year.  A lot of people are already commenting about how Sony first aped the Wii's motion style controls for the PlayStation Move and are now grumbling about how this game is nothing more than an HD skinned Smash Bros rip-off.  Easy argument to make, but honestly if it's anywhere near as fun as Smash. Bros?  Well, I don't really mind - I just hope the game is good.

And last but hardly least - some NFL news.  I'm a big fan of the NFL, Madden series and I can finally say that I'm a Lions fan without being laughed at (for the first time in like a decade).  I was of course both excited and nervous about the announcement that Calvin Johnson, AKA Megatron, was this year's cover athlete for Madden.  The guy is simply one of the game's best players, and I'm super excited to see the Lions getting so much attention.  I'm not by any means a superstitious guy, but the Madden Curse as it is called, has proven to be pretty consistent over the years.  Here's hoping that Calvin Johnson can buck that trend this year.

There was this little thing called the NFL Draft last night as well.  I think it's interesting to listen to discussions about video game franchise fatigue.  Most sports titles are generally accused of doing very little to improve upon their formula year after year.  Often people point to roster updates as the only significant change.  I admit that the roster updates are a big part of it - I watched the draft last night like millions of other people, anxious to see which 22 year old kid was going to help my team out (the Lions nabbed a new offensive tackle, Riley Reiff - not a sexy pick by any means, but I think a good one as our line has needed fresh blood for some time). 

There was a recent article on IGN talking about some of the improvements coming to both Madden and NCAA football that EA is beginning to tout, and the below graphic touches on those:

For me, most of the time these new releases are exciting enough that I feel good making the purchase each year.  Sure, it's not a huge change most seasons, but for sports fans each new year brings the promise of potential and fresh starts and we relish in it - and sports games for better or worse represent this hope in us as well.

One other bit of news is that for Vita owners, Madden NFL 13 will not allow you to bounce your seasons/franchises from PS3 to Vita the way MLB 12: The Show did this year, which is a bit of a bummer for people who want to take their seasons portable, though I don't imagine I would pick the game up for two systems in the same year - but for the most diehard of fans, the above news may be a bit disappointing.

So, any thoughts on the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer - do you still like it?  Do you look forward to these objective weekends?  Are you an NFL fan who's excited by the draft or the Madden announcements trickling out there this week?  I know we have a lot of Nintendo fans who read here - what are your early thoughts about this Wii U information?

This weekend will likely be another heavy gaming one for me, which is great since I do have a few new games ot review over the next week, and 2 lenthy titles (Final Fantasy XII-2 and record of Agarest War Zero) that I would love to put bigger dents into as well.  What are you planning to do this weekend?  Sound off!
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