Ubisoft find themselves in the headlines once again as angry gamers flock to the forums, complaining that their Far Cry 4 keys were mysteriously deactivated without any warning or explanation. It eventually transpired that all of these keys were bought from serial key resellers, companies that buy and sell on digital codes at significant discounts, with Ubisoft claiming that the keys in question were "fraudulently" obtained in the first place.
It's an interesting situation and there usually two sides to every story, but in this case, I feel that there are three. Publishers, illicit sources of serial keys and gamers stuck right in the crossfire. And everyone has something to learn here -- Ubisoft especially.
To be clear, the sale of Steam, Origin, PSN, Xbox Live and Uplay codes is legal and most sites comport themselves openly and legitimately. Everyone from Green Man Gaming to GamersGate, CDKeys and SimplyCDKeys. However, this is apparently a special case.
Click here to read more...
For fans of Guild Wars 2, last weekend was kind of a big deal. You see, it has been nearly two and a half years since the MMO sequel released, and despite some hiccups along the way it’s quite clear that their lateral approach to pretty much every genre convention has helped keep it enjoyable, eventful and, most importantly, relevant. It’s all in our colossal review from 2012. Since then, it has been one of the more regularly updated MMOs out there thanks to consistent content updates alongside the Living Story – the second season having demonstrated to its peers how to deliver an involving and interesting narrative.
That’s not too bad for an MMO that doesn’t have a subscription to keep the coffers full, but it was certainly time for something new to be thrown into the virtual world of Tyria. The rumour and speculation mill has been running rampant for weeks, with fellow writers theorising on what Heart of Thorns would be. The popular theory was an Expansion Pack, but because ArenaNet are not known for doing things traditionally it was clear that it wouldn’t be that simple. A new level cap? A new class? A new level of loot grind to chase after, thus leaving the old content in the dust?
As the reveal at PAX East showed, ArenaNet laugh in the face of linear thinking and once again provided a lateral approach to expansions with Heart of Thorns.Click here to read more...
Some good news this week as Zenimax announced they would be dropping subscription fees from the Elder Scrolls Online, so we have a few reaction pieces on that. Elsewhere Jon gives us his impressions of the new Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate demo on 3DS. Matt picks out eight little-known games to look out for this year. We ask if the new Borderlands collection is new money for old rope. There's an hour of Gat out of Hell to take a gander at. We take a look at what Windows 10 might mean for gaming. Our From the Vault article brings back an older piece on the funniest games of all time, back from 2010.
In the reviews, Jon brings us verdicts on two (wait, what?) Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth games and Blackguards 2. Matt takes a look at the new Saints Row IV expansion, Gat out of Hell. And I take on the HD Remaster of Resident Evil.Click here to read more...
Every Sunday, we'll be diving into the Dealspwn archives to bring you an article or review from yesteryear. With Grim Fandango HD finally just a few days away from release, we take a look at our 2010 countdown of the funniest games out there. An article plucked from the archives and dusted off for this comment from ODB:
"Why the **** has Grim Fandago not been released on consoles updated just like Monkey Island?? AWESOME game but never finished it due to my copy crashing so far in every time. Also Lucasarts please bring back the old anti-copy protection dials you used to have for these sort of games!!! They were quality!!!"
Fast forward four years and three months, and the wish is coming true!
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Humour in games is a hard thing to pull off, but with DeathSpank making some noise, and Duke Nukem dusting off his pithy one liners once more, we figured it was about time we took a look back at some of the funniest games of all time. It's a subjective list, to be sure, but we think these ten have earned their place as true gaming comedy classics.
Honourable mentions go to Resident Evil for having the worst plot translation and voice work ever, PaRappa the Rapper for turning a gangsta scene into something colourful, absurd and side-splittingly funny, Command and Conquer for having the hammiest, OTT acting and Elite Beat Agents for being utterly, incomprehensibly Japanese. Seriously, check out this video...it's insane.
Bizarre weapons, snappy one liners from a protagonist simply named The Dude and, of course, some epic cameos from Gary Coleman, Postal 2 was utterly insane...and all the better for it! We don't really see games like this much any more. Yes it was bloody, violent, at times pretty sick, but it was also hilarious, over the top, tongue-in-cheek and often satirical, lampooning our frustrations over mundane activities like picking up a Christmas tree, buying milk or cashing a cheque and utterly rife with dark humour. In what other game can you use a cat as a silencer I ask you!Click here to read more...
We got our first proper look at Microsoft's plans for Windows 10 yesterday as the Redmond company unleashed a barrage of new information. For us gamers, it seems that Microsoft have a real opportunity to bring console and PC gaming together in a very real way, and to make the hideous mess that was Games For Windows Live a distant memory.
But are they up to the task? Here are some of our thoughts following the Windows 10 presentation...
After reflecting on yesterday’s presentation, I can’t help but feel that it wasn’t quite the “for PC gamers” presentation it was meant to be. Sure, there were some handy features that were mentioned, and the free upgrade to Win10 for Win 7 & 8 users is a fine gesture, but it just seems like every time they were about to seal the deal and blow us away they’d remind us that the real gaming experience was over on Xbox One. Sure, I’m exaggerating the situation a bit, but it really came across as Win10 devices being a companion to the Xbox One, for gamers at least.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t some good stuff to talk about, so let’s start with the positives. The built-in DVR functionality in Win10 will no doubt please those wanting to share their magical gaming moments with the internet. That said, unless there’s an ability to do live recording and/or streaming I can’t imagine content creators making it their tool of choice. With just a 30-second memory it’s more like SnapChat for gaming, but with less exhibitionism. Well, possibly. Don’t quote me on that.Click here to read more...
There was something that bugged me about yesterday's press release and, having slept on it, I now think I know what it is. Reading through Zenimax Online's announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online would be dropping the subscription and going buy-to-play, it hit me that aside from the vague allusion in the first to TESO being an "award-winning multiplayer roleplaying game" at no point to the letters MMO pop up in sequence. The whole thing reads like Bethesda are desperately trying to frame the experience as the thing many of us wanted in the first place -- a game that's basically a bigger version of Skyrim with friends.
"For the first time in history, players will explore the legendary world of Tamriel with their friends on console," reads the official blurb. "In the latest and biggest Elder Scrolls game ever made, players will be able to adventure alone, quest with friends, or join an army of hundreds in epic player vs. player battles as they explore and discover the secrets of a persistent Tamriel."
Along with the constant reiteration of phrases like "one-time purchase" (even when describing the Premium subscription, which is still an option, the language used tells of a "single monthly charge" in an attempt to soften the blow) there's a clear drive to play down the MMO-ness of TESO for its console release.
The abdication of the cancerous subscription model has been a long time coming. We were already taking bets on how long it would take Zenimax to drop the creaking infrastructure after seeing monthly payments swiftly abandoned by pretty much every new MMO in the last few years, and now we have a date of March 17th.Click here to read more...
Well, there you have it folks. less than a year after launch, and it's been announced that The Elder Scrolls Online is dropping the subscription and going buy-to-play. A press release revealed that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, will release worldwide on 9th June, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One. Players "will no longer be required to pay a monthly game subscription for extended play. Players will make a one-time purchase of the game and can then enjoy hundreds of hours of content without the requirement of a monthly game subscription fee when The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited becomes available on console in June and beginning 17th March for PC/Mac players."
New players will "make a one-time purchase of the game and play, without restrictions, for as long as they like – without game subscription fees". However, it seems that Tamriel Unlimited will be supported with "special, optional downloadable content" and an "in-game Crown Store for convenience and customization items. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players to enjoy free of additional charges."
There'll also be a Premium subscription option called ESO Plus, "providing exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs while a member."
Is this a good move? Does it make the console versions more attractive prospects? What the hell will ESO Plus mean for in-game balance? We stuck our heads together to chat about our impressions of this fairly monumental shift for TESO.Click here to read more...
The standalone expansion pack Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell is out tomorrow, and I got a chance to play a whole bunch of it over the weekend. Well, I say that... what I actually did was jump into the game, find that I couldn't actually access any missions for some bizarre reason, and then proceed to rampage around Lucifer's hometown dishing out fiery death to the already-dead, and gifting demons exploding frogs.
The review will arrive tomorrow, but as there was only time to do one take of this, here's a video of me romping around Hell for an hour, getting increasingly frustrated, and driving demonic monster trucks really badly.Click here to read more...
After a heartbreaking year of waiting, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is finally nearing release on Nintendo 3DS. The latest instalment launches next month, promising another enormous adventure as we stalk massive beasts and make clothes from their hides, teaming up with friends and gradually transforming from peasant weakling to master hunter. It's about time and we're so very ready.
We'll bring you our full review in February, but for now I'm delighted to report that the recently-released 3DS demo provides fascinating insight into how Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is shaping up; a smartly-designed piece of software designed to introduce new players to the franchise while allowing experienced hunters to get to grips with some of the brutal new mechanics.
After choosing a monster to hunt -- the velociraptor-esque Great Jaggi, rock-throwing Tetsucabra and the menacing flying Gore Mangala that extrudes a poisonous virus mist -- and your weapon of choice (more on those later), you'll be thrown into a segmented map in search of your quarry. As usual each stage is a sprawling selection of interconnected zones containing passive animals to hunt, resources to scavenge, dangerous predators to engage and your main target itself, which you'll track down with your Felyne AI companions or other human hunters, seeing as MH4U now includes full 3DS online multiplayer rather than having to rely on the Wii U to do the heavy lifting.Click here to read more...
We're on the edges of our seats for the likes of The Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight, new Zelda and Uncharted and Tomb Raider, and all of the other top tier, big name titles that everyone's already excited for. But there are a number of cracking games flying ever so slightly under the radar this year. I'm not talking about really obscure, left-field titles, although there might very well be a follow-up piece along those lines to come across the next week or so, but titles that maybe aren't making quite as much noise as your Bloodbornes and your Halo 5s.
With that in mind, here are eight slightly alternative, hopefully excellent titles, that I'm really looking forward to in 2015.
The first Nintendo Direct broadcast of the year was big news this week with release details of upcoming Wii U/3Ds titles and the new, erm New 3DS. We have a roundtable of our personal highlights for you to dive into. We also take a look at the hottest exclusives to look out for on PS4 and Xbox One in 2015. There are also hot topic opinion pieces on the latest games including Bloodborne, Evolve, and GTA V on PC. Carl asks if WildStar can make a comeback in 2015 and I ask if The Order: 1886 is set to be another 'next-gen' letdown or if it's just a victim of poorly chosen demos.
With so many games to save up for Jon takes a look at the very best of the free to play titles out there and even dusts off Destiny for one last chance, only to find he's finally fallen in love with it - mine's still refusing to sell for asking price on eBay. Some Boomerang game rental customers had their account details stolen this week and Matt has some strong words on the company's rather pathetic apology. Enjoy links to all of the above and more below and don't forget to enter our Avernum 2 competition!Click here to read more...
There’s something not quite right with The Order: 1886. It’s undeniably gorgeous, a testament to the power under the hood of the PS4, but having played it at expos and press events and watched extra footage, many are struggling to form an attachment to the game. Where there should be a giddy urge to have the game in our lives as soon as possible, which should be a part of any AAA console-exclusive, we find ourselves struggling to gather much enthusiasm for Sony’s first big game of 2015. Given the rather lacklustre gameplay scenes we’ve seen so far, we can’t help but think that Sony has decided on some oddly dull demos to try and hook us journos and gamers in. Are they avoiding spoilers, or does The Order: 1886 just not have that much to show?
As I’ve already mentioned, the graphics aren’t an issue. After seeing what Ready at Dawn was able to do with God of War on the PSP, it’s great to see them unleashed on the PS4. The level of detail in this steampunk take on Victorian London is astonishing and that line between cutscene and gameplay has been obliterated. That said, Uncharted 2 effectively did the same thing back in 2009.
The constant presence of ‘cinematic’ widescreen borders really isn’t working for the game either. Especially as the widescreen ratio is a relic of cinema film exhibition. Seeing as most movie content is consumed at home nowadays, it’s something the movie industry should be moving away from to accommodate the different aspect ratios of cinema screens and TVs. So to see a game attempt such an act isn’t fooling anyone.Click here to read more...
Every Sunday, we'll be diving into the Dealspwn archives to bring you an article or review from yesteryear. This week, having gotten all excited once again over the prospect of Xenoblade Chronicles X in the wake of the first Nintendo Direct of the year, here's a reminder of exactly why Monolith Soft's original title on the Wii was so highly regarded, and why we're very glad it's getting a revisit on the New 3DS.
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Platform: Wii (Reviewed)
Developer: Monolith Soft
The UK release of Xenoblade Chronicles poses many questions. The most controversial of which, naturally, is exactly why us Brits have received Monolith Soft's anticipated RPG instead of the United States... who have spent the last few months demonstrating the massive demand by banging their heads against Nintendo Of America's Facebook page.
There's a much more pressing question to be answered, however. Is Xenoblade Chronicles actually any good - and does it worth the insane amount of hype?
The answer is simple. Not only is Xenoblade Chronicles an astounding RPG and a late-game miracle for the Wii, but it's also one of the best games to have come out of Japan this console generation. It's bigger, smarter, more innovative, more nuanaced and more considerate than practically any other JRPG I can name... and just to put the icing on the cake, all the voice acting isBritish. The term game-changer has never been more apt or profoundly literal.
Xenoblade Chronicles is set a year after a legendary hero uses the power of a mysterious sword to rout an army of machines hell-bent on crushing the human race clinging to life on the back of an ancient dead machine God. Shulk, a young laboratory technician tasked with unlocking the secrets of the Monado (the blade in question), is soon granted a nightmarish vision of the future by the enigmatic weapon - and sets out with a group of comrades to discover whether the prophecy will come true. And more importantly, whether the future can be changed. It's an exciting and imaginative premise, and one that sets the tone for a truly superior RPG.Click here to read more...
Following its launch shambles, Phil Spencer managed to turn the Xbox One around last year. Tough decisions were made, screaming U-turns were pulled and the result is that Microsoft's console is fighting fit with a cracking games library to enjoy.
But the real work starts now. Increased sales are all well and good, but it's all about the games, and Microsoft is set to release a much more varied slate of big-budget titans, anticipated sequels, new IP and boutique titles this year.
The Xbox One has everything to prove in 2015, and these are the games to do it.
Quantum Break is still one of the Xbox One's biggest wildcards. Promising to transcend the boundaries between games and television, Remedy's latest creation promises to be a handsome shooter with some nifty slow-motion mechanics backed up by an innovative time-travelling storyline and epilogue sequences that let you appreciate the perspective of the main villain.
There's a lot riding on this one, but Remedy has yet to disappoint.Click here to read more...
UPDATE 2: Due to ongoing login and account creation issues, we have decided to cancel and postpone this competition, to be rescheduled once everything is back to normal. Sorry for the inconvenience!
UPDATE: We are aware that there is currently a major problem affecting logging in, creating accounts and posting comments. If this persists, we will cancel and reschedule the competition. Sorry for the inconvenience!
If you love classic RPGs and pine for the Infinity Engine days, you're going to love Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel has been crafting quality role-playing experiences for the best part of two decades, delivering enormous worlds and compelling characters fleshed out with exceptional writing and tactical combat. Basically, they're excellent.
This massively expanded remake of Avernum 2 is set to continue that trend as you create a party and set out into a massive underground world, exploring over 100 towns and dungeons and defending your new home over the course of 40-50 hours. It released this week on Steam for £12.74, and there's a huge demo too.
We're currently working on our full review -- there's dozens of hours of gameplay here, so cut us some slack! -- but Spiderweb Software have given us three extra Steam codes for you to win. To enter, just leave us a comment in the box below! We're keeping it dead simple this time. You can tell us about yourself, wax lyrical about Avernum, reveal your favourite old-school RPG moments or make some terrible puns (go on, you know you want to), but the winners will ultimately be determined by random selection. Good luck!
Competition closes Friday 22nd January at 17:00. Winners will be randomly selected. Winners will be notified and sent their Steam code to the email address associated with their Dealspwn account, so please make sure to use a valid email address!
After allegations that Boomerang Rentals' customer accounts were compromised earlier this month -- a fiasco that led to mysterious, unauthorised transactions popping up in the statements of a number of Boomerang's customers -- it seems that the site is back up and running, sort of. And as recompense for "the recent website issues", the company is issuing a rewards package that'll see those affected get "£12 worth of Payback Points and exclusive access to bonus games."
Yup, thousands of pounds have gone missing, but it's okay folks, because now you can get a little upgrade badge for your account that'll read "Legend". And people didn't think this was being taken seriously.
Oh Boomerang.Click here to read more...
The PS4 may be selling like hot cakes, but there's a case to be made that it's lacking exclusive clout. Despite the best efforts of the indie scene, Sony's best first-party studios simply weren't ready to deploy their big guns during the console's first year, seeing as they'd supported the PS3 right up to the death. "Greatness awaits," promised the pitch, and we're still waiting.
But not for much longer.
2015 is set to be a barnstorming year for the PS4, and there's a huge amount to look forward to. From massive AAA juggernauts to new IPs and exciting experimental boutique titles, there's an astonishing wealth of software on the way, so here's what we'd consider to be the hottest games on the slate along with links to our coverage where possible. Greatness awaits? Greatness awakes, hopefully.
Well, we've got to start somewhere, so let's get this out of the way first. Though we love the look of The Order's setting, both Matt and I emerged from hands-on preview sessions somewhat worried about the gameplay of Ready At Dawn's "cinematic" shooter. All too often it seems to fall back on contrived and sluggish third-person cliches, from QTEs to instant-failure stealth, that will need to be supported by much wider and more engaging levels to make for a worthwhile experience.
However, for me it all hinges on the story. If The Order delivers a tale worth telling, I think many gamers will be absolutely fine with a more focused take on the genre. Plus, the thermite gun is amazing. Fingers crossed.
Man, that’s a title I didn’t think I’d be writing six months ago. Despite my positive assessment of WildStar and the entertainment it gave me in its first few months, the momentum dissipated by the end of the year. While the latest content drop helped to keep the existing fanbase content for a spell, the problem was that it wasn’t enticing those who had tried the game and left, or those who had yet to even pick up a copy. As this was happening, old behemoths were proving they were still relevant with new expansions, a suckerpunch to what was meant to be a new home for disillusioned former WoW players. Meanwhile, titles like The Secret World and especially Guild Wars 2 were demonstrating how to do an ongoing storyline with style, putting the much-touted World Story instance to shame.
It was heart-breaking to see it happen, but it was ultimately understandable. Something needed to change, and fast. So with that said, this afternoon Product Director Mike Donatelli issued a statement over on the official website detailing the battleplan for WildStar. The summary of it was that Carbine Studios know "there are important areas where we can, and must, do better in 2015 — and we are.” As such, it seems to be a good time to take look at what Carbine have in store with both the announced and unannounced content and features, reflect on the issues from the last few months, and see if WildStar can restore some of that lost excitement from last summer's launch.Click here to read more...
The first Nintendo Direct has been and gone, and it was a big one. We learned that the New 3DS models will release over here on February 13th, we got fresh looks at a number of titles including Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X and 3D, and Mario Party 10, Nintendo dished the dirt on a new wave of Amiibo figures coming later this year, and then let rip with a fat handheld lineup culminating in some seriously pretty special edition hardware bundles.
Here's what we made of the presentation...
I'm finding it quite hard to sit still right now, such is my excitement. That Nintendo Direct did exactly what I wanted: it answered some of my biggest questions about the Wii U and 3DS. I was worried after going hands-on with Splatoon that it might not have the longevity to make a great impression, but Nintendo swept that concern aside with this video. The game looks brilliant, the customisation absolutely spot-on. None of that depth had been exhibited mid-way through last year, but the variety in weapons and devices, and the numerous ways to add your own flavour to the game should really serve to shake things up. I can't wait to play it again this year in any case.
I'm so glad I bought a Wii U.Click here to read more...
Bloodborne is one of my most anticipated games of 2015. Having delved into Yharnam's bloodsoaked streets in hands-on preview sessions, gore-caked transforming saw in hand, I emerged knowing that this brutal and harrowing thing will likely be the game to sell me a PS4. There's much to look forward to, macabre as it is.
Legions of Dark Souls fans are champing at the bit for more From Software punishment, as if they're expecting a next-gen sequel, but I have a confession to make. I don't like Dark Souls.
Which, believe it or not, makes me doubly excited about what Bloodborne has to offer.
I have an odd relationship with Dark Souls, insofar as it's a game I deeply respect. I love the cohesive art design and the way its intricate levels feel like an enormous authentic world. I love the fact that it trusts players to piece together a mournful story through subtle hints and clues, not overbearing cutscenes. And who couldn't love any game brave enough to give players a stern challenge?Click here to read more...