EA and Crytek have released a new trailer that reveals some of the backstory behind the soon-to-be-released Crysis 2, as well as showing off the nanosuit to advantage with some more juicy gameplay footage.
Just watch it. We take no responsibility for involuntarily-leaked bodily fluids during the presentation.
Now the NGP is out in the open, Sony has sworn that they won't repeat a few major mistakes that dogged the launch of the PS3. Whilst their home console is undoubtedly now a huge success after a slightly shaky start, things could have gone a lot smoother.
Firstly, SCE President Shuhei Yoshida confirms that several features were left out of the NGP in order to ensure as attractive a launch price as possible. Sony's 2006 E3 conference left many gamers agape at the staggering launch price of the PS3- which was far too high even considering its powerful specs.
There were elements that we found pretty cool, but had to set aside to remain on target.
It's a big lesson we learnt from the PS3. There's no point putting everything you want into a device and doing the math later. We always had the price and consumer in mind. We had to sell something that people could buy. - Shuhei Yoshida to EDGE Magazine
Price is one thing, but the PS3's major early weakness was Sony's future-proofing policy. Sony freely admitted that the PS3 was designed to be difficult to develop for so that graphics would steadily improve throughout its lifespan- which is a neat idea in theory that shafted studios in reality. Luckily Yoshida has announced that the NGP will deliver an accessible development platform.
We had to make the development environment for NGP as 'easy' as possible. Today, many teams are familiar with the PS3 and are used to including a variety of effects in their titles.
Based on this expertise – and also the working habits they developed working on PS3 – we had to make development on the NGP as natural as possible – an extension of the PS3, if you will.
The NGP promises to be an "extention of the PS3" in any number of ways, and we'll keep you posted about any whiff of launch price or new info that we dig up. [via EG]
Hype is so rampant within our industry that even videogame announcements get their own announcements these days.
First up is the Assassin's Creed series. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has confirmed that the next AC title will be a full boxed retail release as opposed to a downloadable offering; whilst stating that we'll have to wait until May for a full reveal. The project itself should be out before the end of the year.
We won't give you full details but what we can say is that we will have an Assassin's Creed also this year. But we are going to give you more details about the game in May.
May it is, then. To bide the time, why not get involved with our debate about what time periods may feature in Desmond's next outing? [EG]
Now onto THQ, whose loquacious boss confirms that Relic Entertainment are hard at work on their next RTS project. Danny Bilson tells us that the studio behind the Homeworld and Dawn Of War franchises will make a full announcement in... wait for it... August.
At least this gives us plenty of time to theorise about what their next title actually is. Naturally the smart money is on Dawn Of War III... but we'd give our eye teeth for another Homeworld sequel. We'll keep you updated down the line.
The internet nearly exploded when deal hunters came across a Tesco 20% off sale that seemed to include the Nintendo 3DS. This worked out as £157 per unit, resulting in a truly incredible saving and countless hurried preorders. However, it appears that this deal was simply too good to be true. Tesco have confirmed that this offer does not include the 3DS (scroll down to the bottom)- and their terms and conditions allow them to change the price of preorders before they're dispatched.
If, by mistake, we have under priced an item, we will not be liable to supply that item to you at the stated price, provided that we notify you before we despatch [sic] the item to you. - Tesco T&Cs
Damn. We'll keep an eye out for other 3DS deals.
With Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood releasing to rave reviews - our esteemed editor awarded it a 10 just last year for building upon the brilliance of ACII - I think it's safe to assume Ubisoft is hard at work on a third entry in the epoch-hopping franchise. And before we're all privy to concrete details, it's fun to speculate and wonder on just what shape Assassins Creed 3 might take. Whose memories will Desmond plunge into next? And, more specifically, what era will we be free-running and slaughtering in?
Let the speculation begin!
Victorian-era London is a setting I've hoped for since AC2 released and our attention subsequently turned to a sequel. Imagine leaping from thatch roof to thatch roof above gas lamp-lit cobblestones, diving into the Thames to escape guards and infiltrating Buckingham Palace to plunder the crown jewels. It would be enough just to hear the cockney villager soundbites and Oliver Twist-style vagabonds pinching wallets and robbing wealthy gentleman down shady back-alleys.
Click here to see what other eras and events Assassin's Creed 3 might encompass...
Despite a fairly shaky start, Assassin's Creed a prime example of a franchise that genuinely goes from strength to strength with each successive outing. We rated the recently-released Brotherhood as a top contender for Game of the Year, but naturally speculation is rife about where the series is headed next- and when it will be released. After Ubisoft Boss Yves Guillemot dropped cryptic hints about "something around Assassin's Creed next year" during an investors meeting, their chief European marketing exec has revealed that a major new AC title has been slated for 2011.
Yes, Yves [Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO] mentioned it last week in our financials – and more details will be forthcoming. But what I can say is that next year we will have another big Assassin's Creed game. - Ubisoft's Geoffroy Sardin to MCV
We reckon this "big" game will have to be Assassin's Creed 3, but the million dollar question is where exactly the freeform parkour murder will be set next time around. And when in history. It's possible that the near-future setting will play a much larger role (as hinted by a previously-canned AC project that will possibly appear as a full sequel)... but right now, it's anybody's guess.
Where would you like to see Assassin's Creed 3 set? Ancient Egypt? World War 2? A grim futuristic city (sigh)? Have your say in the comments!
The British Interactive Media Association Awards celebrate and honour digital achievements from UK developers, and two outstanding studios walked away with the prizes. Zombie Cow Studios won the Games award for Privates: their anarchic and hilarious sexual education game that was sadly rejected by Xbox Live Arcade. Littleloud studios also scooped up two awards for their political-correctness themed title.
Zombie Cow's Dan Marshall accepted the award with due humility... as well as a characteristically hilarious dig at drinks prices these days!
It was nice just to be nominated for three BIMA awards (Games, Originality and Effectiveness), but to walk away with the one we honestly thought we had no chance of winning was a shock second only to the completely-true story of being charged five pounds for a can of 'Red Stripe Lager' at the bar. Honestly! Five pounds!
Have one on us, Dan. Congratulations! [GI]
Namco Bandai have confirmed Test Drive Unlimited 2 for a February 2011 release date here in the UK- along with some nifty preorder bonuses from certain retailers. The Casino DLC will only be on offer from GAME, Amazon, Play.com, HMV.co.uk, Asda.co.uk, Argos.co.uk and Gamestation.co.uk- as well as some unique unlockable cars from each retailer.
Here's a trailer to help you make up your mind.
The latest binary clue in BioWare's ongoing series of cynical viral marketing stunts for their latest title has led intrepid adventurers to the artwork for a Clash Greatest Hits album cover. This punk rock connection, coupled with the MI6 building from a previous binary string, strongly suggests that the mysterious title might well be set in London. [Beefjack]
That's all we've got for now. We'll have to wait for December 11th for the full reveal.
Time to revisit our favourite, and not so favourite, videogame endings once again. In this second volume of climactic conclusions and failed finales, we'll remember titles which wrenched on our heart-strings, spiked our adrenal glands and itched our annoyance receptors. But beware, spoilers ahoy!
Ignoring the awful Reaper fetus showdown, the climactic level of Mass Effect 2 is a surprisingly emotional experience. The knowledge that members of your team who die remain dead, is shocking, especially when you consider the effort you invested to recruit their service and loyalty. Once you blast that Terminator wannabe into the abyss, and cast your eyes over the shattered remnants of your squad, you're reminded of the sacrifices of war.
The final scene, of an army of Reapers descending upon your galaxy, just makes the wait for revenge that much harder!
What's disappointing about Bioshock, is that a perfectly fitting finale is included in the latter portions of the game. Your showdown with Andrew Ryan, the discovery that you're his genetic heir and an unwitting pawn in his feud with Fontaine, would have been a bold, unconventional way to end what was already an original experience.
So maybe you should just stop playing Bioshock after that point? It's not like the game ends with a cheesy boss-fight against a steroid-infused Gears of War reject, is it? Oh.
As far as subtitles go, Metal Gear Solid 3's a winner. It's also, in my humble, entirely unbiased, well-judged and astute opinion, the best iteration in the Metal Gear Solid series, both in terms of gameplay, story and emotional investment. No scene demonstrates this better than the final shot of Snake placing a bouquet of flowers and a pistol on The Boss' unmarked grave. Even badass soldiers with eye-patches can shed a cyclopic tear.
But it's not over. With the credits rolled, and your hand extended towards the PS2, finger poised over the power-button, Ocelot can be heard on the phone to the CIA director, revealing his wonderfully twisted, triple-crossed plans have come to fruition. Epic.
So not only do you endure a painfully simple final boss-fight with an Imulsion-pumped Brumak, which is a shame considering the epic tunnel crawl atop the hulking beast, mowing down the fleeing Locust horde and wrestling Corpsers. But then, as Jacinto's foundation collapses and the city plunges into the ocean, it all ends. Is any explanation given for the paradoxically human Locust Queen? Or just what those tentacle-writhing beasts were in the AI-controlled laboratory?
Nope. But we do get to see Marcus and Anya exchange simmering looks from across a helicopter. Yeah. That's exactly what I play Gears of War for. Sexual tension between a Duke Nukem wannabe and a Cortana ripoff.See what other endings delighted and irked Felix by clicking here...
In case you haven't noticed, using our Dealspwn exclusive voucher code you can get a pound off anything at ShopTo at the moment, and get Assassin’s Creed II on PS3 or Xbox 360 for £16.85 the lowest price around.
NB: Here’s the code you need to credit £1 to your ShopTo account: DEALSPWN
Despite the original’s many flaws it sold an enormous amount of copies. Thankfully Ubisoft listened to the feedback between money baths and created a much better adventure. There’s still that annoying ‘future/time travelling’ fluff of a storyline, but hey. If you never finished the first one there are several deep wikis online to bring you up to speed/make you wish you hadn’t bothered.
Renaissance era Italy is your playground this time with players starring as Ezio in a story of corruption, murder, revenge and other cheery delights. The game actually starts with his birth, so be patient as it takes a while to get going.
Gameplay is where we’ve seen the biggest improvements, with a wider variety of missions on offer than the first game. The original handful of side-mission types has been expanded to a much more agreeable 16. Thankfully there’s less sitting around on benches and more stabby stabby fun-time.
Ezio has access to over 20 weapons, but why splash the cash on them when you can yank half of them from soldiers? Why would you want to though? Once you unlock your second wrist mounted blade you can take out two soldiers at once, right up the chin. The combat’s been improved and has more depth to it this time around although enemies are still quite polite by taking turns to try and run you through.
While James Bond has Q, Ezio has Leonardo da Vinci to test out his mad inventions. It’s a relatively reasonable explanation for letting Ezio fly around Venice with his paper and twigs strap-on wings. Most of your traveling though will be via the better-than-ever climbing and free-running sections which are noticeably less clunky than before.
Overall, a great sequel that more realises the ambition of the first title. Come on, £16.85! The summer draught of games is about to begin so it’s time to stock up on some cheap classics.
Thanks to andywedge at HotUkDeals for the find
If Dan Brown and Philip K. Dick ever got together and brainstormed, the resulting mess of a narrative would still probably make more sense than Ass Creed's jumbled Templar-baiting narrative. Mind you, this isn't really about Desmond and his futuristic borefest, it's just an excuse for us to go back in time and engage in a lot of parkour and stealthy murder in wonderfully crafted historical settings.
You can grab the Xbox 360 version of the Assassin's Creed II for just £17.99 at the moment from HMV, saving you almost £2 on the nearest competitor over at ShopTo (£19.85).
This time we go back to Renaissance Italy to spend some time in the company of Ezio as he minces around a few famous cities looking for revenge. Ubisoft has made something of an apology with this game, there are more quests, more things to do, more weapons and more interesting ways of executing people. The combat system is still pretty rubbish, and not a patch on far superior rhythm-and-timing based mechanics such as that in Arkham Asylum, jumping still requires a certain amount of praying to determine where you'll land, but overall this is a big improvement on the previous game and a thoroughly entertaining action title.
Thanks to IWannaBeAdored at HUKD
Although it was a great title, you couldn’t help but notice how the gameplay seemed to lag far behind the overall visual quality in the original Assassins Creed. While the 12th century interpretations of Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre were stunning - and provided a vibrant and realistic environment to go free running – missions were disappointingly repetitive. However if you’ve yet to get your hands on the sequel, Assassins Creed II provides a dynamic and satisfying gameplay experience which actually lives up to its outstanding presentation. Overall, it makes the first Assassins Creed look like a mere draft to which the sequel has made all the necessary corrections.
So if you were a fan of the first edition, you can now pick up a copy of Assassins Creed 2 for £22.85 from Shopto (on PS3 or Xbox 360). At the moment there are currently no huge price differences to be found on this one, but Shopto have the cheapest deal around by about £1.10.
The story of Assassins Creed II picks up exactly where its predecessors left off. It sees modern-day-bartender-Desmond in the middle of a war between the Templers and Assassins who are both seeking to uncover information hidden away in his genetic memories. This time around, Desmond relives the exploits of his ancestor Ezio Audituerre de Firenze: an assassin who lived in 15th century renaissance Italy. Convoluted story aside however, and Assassins Creed 2 basically plays up the good bits of the original while adding some much needed depth to the gameplay.
Stealth and escape tactics are more varied. You can hire thieves and mercenaries to distract your opponents. You can lose pursers by blending into the crowded streets, or throw handfuls of coins at peasants and beggars to instigate a brawl, or dive under water. There are many more weapons which include the likes of smoke bombs, and the combat system has a bit more depth than the original. You can even throw sand in your opponents face if the fancy takes you. Missions are also more diverse and satisfying, and overall, Assassins Creed II offers an open-world adventure which is consistently entertaining. Overall, this is the game which the original should have been.
Thanks to ScRIVs from Hotukdeals.
You wouldn't necessarily think that Leonardo da Vinci, parkour, Templar knights, genetic memory, nonsensical cryptology, and a man named Desmond would be the ingredients for anything other than a crap novel by Dan Brown, but you'd be wrong. Ass Creed II picks up where the original left off in the present day with Desmond on the run from evil Templars who want to kill him because he's the descendant of a bunch of Assassins with a capital 'A' so he joins forces with a handful of separatists who reckon that if they can get Desmond to relive his ancestral memories he'll be able to be an Assassin in real life and stealthily kill all of the bad guys following them.
Comprendez-vous? No? I don't blame you. Just know this: ACII is a wonderful slice of period sandbox entertainment that gives you an excuse for running around beautifully rendered mock-ups of all of the best spots in Renaissance Italy, leaping from cathedral spires, stealing loads of cash, silently thinning out Italy's population of guards and overthrowing a Doge or two.
Gamestation are currently offering the 'special edition' of the game, which comes with an extra bit of map content called the Arsenal Shipyard, for just £19.99. Considering that you can't pick up the normal version of the game on the PS3 for anything less than £23.98 (Gameplay), then this is your best bet by about £4 if you want to step into the shoes of Desmond and his great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great uncle/cousin/grandfather Ezio Auditore.
As I've said before, you can pretty much ignore Desmond's story. It's confusing, alienating and is really only there to let you jump from the Crusades in one game to being undercover at a Venetian masquerade ball at the next without causing too much trouble. Ezio's story is rather more interesting as he finds himself caught up in a tale of revenge where all is not entirely what it seems, and ends up meddling in national politics as the plot thickens.
Ubisoft have done much by way of apology with this game: there's more to do, with assassination contracts extraneous to the main story, couriers to be robbed, collectibles galore, adulterous husbands to be beaten up and, best of all, a series of massive free-running playgrounds in the form of Assassins' tombs that you must navigate and pick clean in order to unlock a seriously sweet reward.
It's still not perfect - the combat is still pretty dire even though they've massively expanded your tool set - but Assassin's Creed II is a vast improvement on its predecessor, and a game that's well worth this asking price.
Thanks to chimpyzak at HUKD
By now, everyone must be well aware regarding the pros and cons of Assassins Creed. It was a game which provided spectacular landscapes, intricately detailed environments, and was without doubt one of the best looking titles of recent times. However, for all of its strengths, Assassins Creed was a game which really suffered from a lack variety, and after so much initial excitement – for the first few hours I was convinced this was the best game I’d ever played – this really was quite tragic.
But since you can pick up the original now for a mere smattering of pounds, it makes sense to forgive it a certain amount. It's not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, and you can now go free running with Altair for just £7.99 from Play, saving you a couple of pounds on the nearest competitors.
The main problem with Assassins Creed came with those boring pre-assassination build ups. You either found yourself having to following the target, eavesdrop on their conversation or beat some information out of one of their associates. However, the problem is that after a few hours gameplay, this becomes really repetitive – especially when you release it’s going to be the same thing again and again throughout the entire game.
That said, Assassin's Creed stood out from a number of its sandbox contemporaries for being pretty fun to simply pick up and play. Its free running mechanic turned these medieval cities into adventure playgrounds, and there's never quite been a game to match it (apart from the sequel) in terms of capturing the atmosphere of freedom that goes hand in hand with parkour. Mirror's Edge tried and led to epilepsy and vomiting.
The combat system is all two-button block-and-counter stuff, the story makes no sense and the missions are repetitive and clunky for the most part, but thankfully Assassin's Creed is worth much more than the mere sum of its parts and worth a look for interested parties at this price.
Thanks to QenTox at HUKD
The DSi XL is a nifty piece of kit... but if you've already invested in some DSiWare then you'll be in for a nasty surprise. Previously-downloaded games cannot be transferred to from a DSi to an XL- simply put, we have to choose between bigger screens or retaining our game library.
This is a shockingly inconsiderate state of affairs- considering that almost every other distribution platform allows purchased titles to be transferred to newer models. Hell, even the iPhone does. Hopefully this will be rectified with a firmware update. [Kotaku]
Bungie has finally spilled the beans about the revamped customisation, ranking and trueskill system that we'll be able to try out in the Halo Reach Beta. There's a lot of information in their latest weekly update, so I'll sum it up as best I can.
Cosmetic customisable armour makes a welcome return, but armour pieces are will unlocked by collecting Credits both in singleplayer and online. They're basically akin to scalable achievements and challenges (think Modern Warfare/Bad Company), with a commensurate reward that can be spent on chest plates, shoulder pads and helmets. Winning games, completing mission objectives and fulfilling weapon-based "commendations" will all win you muy dinero, with multiplayer victories apparently being the "significant source of earning credits".
Oh, and experience system? Gone. Trueskill is now the only governing factor that decides matchmaking rivals. Whilst it's always fun to level up and rise through the ranks, many Halo players simply plateaued after reaching a certain level (I've been a captain for years now). Rank is now completely divorced from the trueskill rating, which should make for more organic player promotion rather than a desperate race to 50.
We can't wait to get stuck into the beta on May 3rd! [Bungie]
In an interview with 1UP, former Ubisoft Art Director Jonathan Jaques-Belletete stated that a substantially different Assassin's Creed game was being developed simultaneously with AC2. It's since been cancelled, but the small development team was apparently cooking up something very special indeed.
"It had a whole different story, with whole different environments and enemies and everything, and it was really cool."- Jaques-Belletete
Whilst this doesn't give much away, I personally surmise that this was the "futuristic" Assassin's Creed that the first game hinted at. It's likely that Ubisoft has delayed this project in order to launch it as a full sequel. [1UP]
Filled with parkour, pointy things and pretension, Assassin's Creed II brings a welcome return for Ubisoft's Templar-baiting series. This time around you're plonked down in Renaissance Italy with more weapons, missions and a more convoluted and nonsensical plot than ever before.
ShopTo are currently selling both console versions of Assassin's Creed II for 328.85 apiece. Now that the GAME deal I posted the other day is out of stock ,this is currently the cheapest option for both, saving you £2 if you're a PS3 owner and £4 if you have an Xbox.
The increased number of weapons come hand-in-hand with a wider variety of attacking moves, although combat in Assassin's Creed II is still a fairly clunky, flat and uninspiring affair. You do, however, get double wrist-blades, smoke bombs and some positively evil-looking daggers with which to dispatch and evade your opponents.
The fluid free-running that made the first game so much fun is pretty much untouched, with Ubisoft having created a number of hidden adventure playgrounds for Ezio to leap, swing and skip around whilst looking for secret Assassin tombs. The cityscapes are all incredibly distinctive now, and house a good number of side-quests and assassination missions to keep you occupied.
Perfect for a quick bit of freeplay as well as longer stints, Assassin's Creed II is certainly an improvement on its older sibling, even if the cutscenes and genetic memory stuff are stuffed with absolute gibberish. Well worth a look.
There's really nothing like coming back from a hard day's work, engaging in a spot of parkour across various Florentine landmarks and rounding up a bunch of flags before leaping from the top of a cathedral's spire and using a pesky rooftop guard as a crash mat before assassinating a courier and pocketing his heavy wallet, escaping from the scene of the crime by hiring a few courtesans to distract any unwanted attention. Forget the confusing plot about Templars and genetic memories, this is what the Assassin's Creed series has always been about.
If you're a PS3 owner yet to meet Ezio Auditore, then there's never been a better time to do so as GAME are currently offering an exclusive version of the game - complete with a nice little figurine of Ezio himself - for just £24.99, which is a good £6.50 cheaper than the nearest competitor over at Coolshop.
The game is very similar to its predecessor, but with a few key changes. For starters, you can now upgrade your weapons, and there's a large number of different blades, knives and other stabbing objects to choose from. The combat system has been tweaked slightly to give Ezio a wider array of moves, and he'll need them as the guards come in several different shapes and sizes. Crucially, Ezio can now swim and use diving to break the line of sight of suspicious guards.
The gameplay reamins relatively unchanged, but Ubisoft have clearly started playing to the game's strengths. As well as the assassination missions there are races to be run, messages to be delivered, hidden glyphs to be found and important people to be protected, but now there are a handful of Assassin tombs littered in secret locations that essentially play out as a series of free-running assault courses as well.
The game isn't perfect, open combat is still pretty awful to be honest and the plot makes absolutely no sense at all, but this is certainly an improvement on the previous title and a great game to add to your collection.
Thanks to davver99 at HUKD
It seems like it's a bargain week for The Hut as for 24 hours, until 8am tomorrow, the big blue vendor is offering an extra 10% off on all of its PC and Xbox 360 deals following the success of the last couple of days with similar savings for Sony and Nintendo.
As per usual, just enter in the code below when you checkout, and give your wallet some TLC.
As with the last few days, we'll be bringing you a bunch of deals throughout the day, but here's a few of the best we've found to keep you going for the moment. The links will send you on your merry way over to the listed game, and we've calculated the price taking the discount code into account, with nearest competitor listed in brackets afterwards:
What are you waiting for!
Today’s news roundup sees 2K Marin trying to quell the furor over plans to impose DRM restrictions on PC versions of Bioshock 2. Hollywood is making noises about a possible remake of Mortal Kombat – god help us. And finally, Assassin’s Creed II on the PC gets a North American release date although no word yet on when it's going to be hitting the shelves here in the UK.
With so many people condemning their proposals to include the notorious SecROM DRM feature with PC versions of Bioshock 2, 2K Marin has just announced it will be ‘scaling back’ plans in bid to reassure livid consumers. Quite predictably, a large number of PC gamers were in uproar after 2K community manager Elizabeth Tobey spoke of proposed DRM restrictions on both digital and retail versions of Bioshock 2.
However, according to Cult of Rapture, Tobey issued a statement saying ‘There will be no SecuROM install limits for either the retail or digital editions of BioShock 2, and SecuROM will be used only to verify the game's executable and check the date. Beyond that, we are only using standard Games for Windows Live non-SSA guidelines, which, per Microsoft, comes with 15 activations’. However, for some customers this is still not good enough, and many insist they will not be purchasing Bioshock2 with DRM no matter how relaxed the restrictions.
Others have also pointed out that 2K’s proposals have actually not changed since last week’s announcement. Elizabeth Tobey then went onto say that this ‘scaling back’ only applies to the digital version. ‘I did not explain anything about Steam because we went back and scaled back what we were doing based on your feedback, and came out today with what was the most we could do. We most definitely changed our SecuROM to be more of what you asked for.’ [Eurogamer]
Although Hollywood might have proven time and time again that game-to-film adaptations don’t work (the recent Legend of Chun-Li movies actually won awards for being so terrible), you have to admire their persistance. According to BloodyDisgusting, Warner Brothers are now looking into a remake of one of the worst game-to-film adaptations of all time: Mortal Kombat. Apparently things have got off to a good start however with Warner Bros. having potentially bagged Oren Uziel as script writer. Uziel was responsible for 2009’s Shimmer Lake which made Hollywood’s black list for Best Unproduced Screenplays. [Firstshowing]
Ubisoft have given a 13th March release date for Assassin’s Creed II on the PC. No word yet on a European release date though - although it shouldn’t be that long after. Ubisoft are calling the PC version a Director’s Cut and have stated that it will come complete with both bits of DLC: Bonfire of the Vanities and The Battle for Forli. To make sure your machine is up to it, follow this link check out the PC requirements (let’s just hope Ubisoft managed to make a decent port). [Gamerrss]
When I was younger someone once said to me, “If you want to have a good party never introduce the topics of sex, religion and politics.” I’m beginning to think that perhaps we need to add video games to that list and keep it separate from religion and politics. Don’t even let the words touch one another in a sentence; it could be a lethal, and explosive, combination.
Recently I’ve discovered that religion in video games is quietly rearing its head once more. It’s a steamy topic that’s making a lot of people very, ahem, cross. Writer Julian Murdoch, in a feature for Gamespy wrote that he “encountered a wall of fear and paranoia when [he] called around, asking developers to talk about religion in gaming.”
Some were happy to talk about it, others refused point blank. It’s just too hot to handle and if one person says the wrong thing with the wrong inflection then it could be all out pandemonium. A PR nightmare. Littlebigplanet from Sony had to delay the game in order to remove music with texts from the Quran as lyrics. It's that tricky.
So what is the role of religion in video games? Is it even necessary? I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the titles and genres that have incorporated religion to a greater or lesser degree, and see if it made any difference at all.
The advent of the PS3 Slim has not only led to a sharp drop in price of the larger version, but an avalanche of post-Christmas bundle deals too. You can now pick up a Slim for upwards of £250, but to do so would mean missing out on some absurdly exciting deals such as this one from Play, offering the brand spankingly new console with 250GB hard drive along with two of the biggest games of the year: Assassin's Creed II and Modern Warfare 2.
Play are giving away the whole lot for £299.98, meaning that you are, in effect, paying about £15-£20 each for the two games, which is pretty astounding considering that they're retailing individually at the moment around the £30 mark.
The PS3 Slim is a beautiful piece of kit. It's quiet and cool (although as an Xbox 360 owner, a jump-jet is quieter than my console), 33% smaller and 36% lighter. Environmentalists out there will also be pleased to know that it consumes 34% less power than its chunkier brother.
But it's not so much the console that should sway you on this deal as the two brilliant games that come bundled with it. Considering that a large number of retailers are still selling the newer console on its own at this price, to grab two of the best games of the year along with it for under £300, and with an expanded 250 GB of hard disk to play with too, is a cracking bargain.
Modern Warfare 2 - the biggest, if not quite the best, game of the year - is a thoroughly enjoyable cinematic FPS romp across the globe as you jump into the bodies of a few Allied elite soldiers attempting to take down a Russian warmonger. The plot is ridiculous, the set-pieces overblown, but it's barnstorming fun and never less than epic.
Assassin's Creed II is, essentially, a massive apology for the minor faults of the first game. Ubisoft have gone out of their way to improve almost every single facet of the original, creating a hugely compelling Renaissance open-world experience. From the more varied missions, to the increased multiplicity of weaponry, to the new free-running assault courses of the Assassin Tombs, the tightened map functionality and the polished graphics, everything in this game shines.
It's also the only console on which to play Uncharted 2 which should be reason enough....I just lost Achievement Points for that.
Thanks to Mechanicus at HotUKDeals
If poor sales of the PSP Go are anything to go by, it would seem that UMDs are not quite out for the count just yet. Those of you like me, bumbling along with a PSP designed for tangible software, might be interested in a deal for this portable version of Desmond and his ancestors' Templar battling antics. Once again taking control of the stab-happy Altair, this sequel to the original Assassin's Creed sees you bound for Cyprus to mop up the remaining Templars hiding out in terror.
If you fancy checking out this relatively recent title, The Hut are currently offering Bloodlines for £17.73, saving you just over £5 on the nearest in-stock competitor (Zavvi - £22.95).
Bloodlines is essentially Assassin's Creed Lite, a scaled back gameplay replica of the original game. The good bits are that this is at least reminiscent of the good bits of the series: Altair's control system is effective and intuitive, at first it feels like an Assassin's Creed game both in terms of looks (this is a pretty pretty PSP game) and with regard to the open-world gameplay we know and love.
Unfortunately, this is one the games that really shows the limitations of the PSP. Without an extra stick for camera control, the free-running that proved so exciting and seamless is now a bit of a fiddly nightmare at times. The hardware isn't anywhere near powerful enough to recreate the bustling cityscapes of the console games and the combat is a simplified version of the original game's. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if the game didn't put quite so much emphasis on open combat: there are a number of different missions, but stealth really takes a backseat on this one and my grandma could outrun the guards in this game.
Bloodlines isn't really a bad game as such, it's just pretty damn average. To be honest, series fans will probably get a kick out of it, but you'll have to forgive it a fair amount. Having said that, a sub-twenty price for a fairly recent big hitter on the PSP is still a pretty good deal, but if you didn't like the console versions, there's no way this game will make you a convert.
In today’s news roundup things get controversial. We hear from Gran Turismo 5 developer Kazunori Yamauchi who’s taken some time out to race Honda Civics and boost to journalists. Fans of Assassin’s Creed II learn that the game’s DLC Packs out later this year were cut from the original game. And lastly, in slightly more positive news, Aaron Greenberg announces Crackdown 2 for sometime in 2010.
As motorists and train passengers stuck in endless delays up and down the country try to contain their frustration, in many ways, their plight is almost like an analogy for GT fans who’ve been stuck endlessly waiting for Gran Turismo 5. The fifth iteration of the franchise has been delayed and put back time and time again, and now it seems we’ll be lucky to see the title hit the shelves before summer 2010. You might have thought therefore, that in this desperate time, with fans cursing Gran Turismo and venting their anger across forums up and down the internet, GT helmsmen Kazunori Yamauchi would be keeping his head down and – you know – be hard at work?
Well you’d be wrong. Yes, it’s true that Yamauchi has been busy…but busy taking his love of motor sport to ‘the next level’. Yamauchi just completed an endurance race where he tore round a Thunder Race Hill in California for 25 hours solid. "Not having a lot of experience in circuit driving, and not knowing what to expect in a 25-hour race, I was very relieved to find that I was able to reduce the 20-second gap between my lap times and my team-mates' at the beginning of the practice to almost zero at the start of the final race" he blabbed, no doubt beaming with pride. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against Yamauchi taking a well earned break, but maybe it would have been a bit more tactful for him to leave the journalists, and just go for a picnic or something instead? [Eurogamer]
In more controversial news, Assassins Creed II developers have announced that the two download packs which are out later this year, the Battle of Forli and the Bonfire of the Vanities, were initially supposed to be part of the original game. The developers described how ‘there were too many things to do and to finish… so we said, 'Okay, let's take a portion of the game that was planned and we'll give it in DLC.' The download packs will cost consumers $4 and $5 dollars when released.
Obviously this has left a lot of people pretty annoyed. Some are calling for boycotts and arguing it’s insulting to consumers and morally wrong. However it’s also worth bearing in mind that developers are ambitious, they want to do too much and are often forced to edit games in order to meet deadlines. If there been no option for adding extra DLC at a later date, these levels could have been simply discarded on the cutting floor. It’s a tricky issue, and if you have an opinion we want to hear about it. [Shacknews]
Lastly, we all know what a massive year 2010 is going to be for computer games. Could it even be one of the biggest years for high profile game releases ever? As Aaron Greenberg from Microsoft explained, ‘we have, starting in January, a triple-A exclusive title pretty much every month for the first half of the year’. He then went on to announce during a Major Nelson Podcast, that Crackdown 2 will be joining the already packed 2010 roister. No exact date has yet been given, although most speculate that Crackdown 2 should be in the shops sometime in early Autumn. [GamingHeaven]
Today’s news roundup sees the PSP Go take further criticism, this time from Traveller’s Tales developer Jon Burton, while Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker gets an official release date in the UK, and Assassin’s Creed 2 has become the latest victim of glitch, forcing players to restart the entire game.
Traveller’s Tales Jon Burton has decided to join the list of people with reservations about the PSP Go, which as you may know is already pretty long, and not very exclusive. The game developer claims the Go is in need of cheaper software in order to survive, pointing out he wouldn’t purchase Little Big Planet on the Go, considering he can get it on UMD for 20 percent cheaper, with the option to resell after finishing. He believes the price parity to be a move designed to please brick-and-mortar retailers.
“But once they realize they can use outlets such as supermarkets for bulk distribution of consoles, then they can slash the prices for downloaded content and that will signal the beginning of the end,” said Burton. “I'm betting on Sony making the first move by making PSP Go games much cheaper than the UMD versions, or the PSP Go will die.” Serious words. Serious words from a serious man. Sales may be slow for the PSP Go, and Sony may need to resort to what Burtons suggesting if things continue as they are. [Develop-Online]
After the reveal earlier this week of a March 18th release for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker on the PSP in Japan, Konami productions have revealed the U.K. and European release. Apparently we can look forward to the game from May 28th, while the rest of Europe gets to enjoy the game one day earlier than us, being released on May 27th. Following this news, Konami then revealed America will be getting the game two days before Europe, on May 25th. [Konami-ProductionsBlog]
Assassin’s Creed 2 apparently contains a glitch so severe; players will be forced to restart the game if they get trapped in it. The glitch is triggered if the console is turned off following an auto-save upon completion of chapter 11. After loading up the game the player will find themselves trapped in the hideout level, with nobody to interact with, and nothing to do. Poor assassin. Ubisoft initially stated to just avoid this problem by playing through to the next auto-save after chapter 11, but now are thankfully working on a fix, with the community developer announcing they are “aware of this problem, and we are glad to say that it will be solved through our upcoming patch.” [CVG]
It seems that Ubisoft have really taken the criticism onboard regarding the first edition of Assassins Creed, which took a lot of flak regarding the repetitiveness of its gameplay and the overall lack of variety. Whilst Assassins Creed 2 looks set to be just as good as its predecessor in terms of visuals, with the same superbly detailed environments, the gameplay should be much more dynamic thanks to a host of new features.
So if you were a fan of the original Assassins Creed and are looking for a good pre-order deal on AC2 – so you can get your hands on it as soon as it’s out on November 17th – the cheapest is currently going on The Hut where pre-order deals are priced £33.73. Although the price initially shows up as £36.73, you need to enter the voucher code HWalk in order to knock £3 off the original amount.
Like in the first game, the player assumes the role of Desmond – a 21st century bartender – who, as a result of being plugged into a machine which reads his DNA, is able to virtually relive the memories of his ancestor assassins. This time around Desmond is following the exploits of the assassin Ezio who once stalked the towns and cities of Renaissance Italy. Ezio’s background story and the reason behind his chosen profession are apparently more ‘compelling’ than Altair’s in AC1 but, thanks to the whole matrix style narrative layering, the plot of AC2 is just as confusing as ever.
However in terms of gameplay there are many additions. Firstly, there are 16 different types of missions which, compared to the pathetic, repetitive handful of boring tasks we got first time around, add some much needed variety. Ezo’s ability to climb buildings etc is also much better than Altair’s which builds on that great feeling of fluidity we got with the first AC.
Combat is also much improved. You can get help from various factions throughout the cities – depending on which you decide to align yourself with – and even disarm guards and use their own weapons against them (apparently AC2 even has firearms). Ezio will also get help from Italian inventor Leonardo Di Vinci whose weird flying contraptions will allow him to soar between the Venetian rooftops. Ubisoft stated that AC2 is the game ‘the original should have been’ and it does appear as though they have made all the necessary corrections.
Thanks to Supergaz from Hotukdeals.