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.
By now, everyone is well aware regarding the pros and cons of Assassins Creed. It was a game which provided fantastic 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 horribly let down by repetitive gameplay which, after so much initial excitement, really was quite tragic.
But now, exclusively for PC, the Director’s Cut edition of Assassins Creed attempts to alleviate some of the problems which undermined the game so badly upon its first release. You can currently get hold of a copy for just £9.98 from Sendit.com.
The main problem with Assassins Creed came with those boring pre-assassination build ups. Of course, it stands to reason that when tasked with bumping off some prominent public figure it’s probably a good idea to follow the target, perhaps eavesdrop on their conversation or maybe even beat some useful information out of one of their associates. However, the problem is that it just isn’t satisfying, in fact, it's dead boring – especially when you release it’s going to be the same thing throughout the entire game.
Therefore the Director’s Cut edition of Assassins Creed attempts to add in some much needed variety. However, do bear in mind, this new edition does not innovate the AC format in any fundamental way it simply tries to take the edge off the boredom. What you get are some extra new tasks – which are apparently quite fun – like Merchant Destruction Challenge, where you get to fight multiple enemies and chuck them into stalls, and Archer Stealth Challenge, where you have to take out a number of rooftop archers unseen.
It's not like veteran players are going to find a great deal to draw them back into Assassins Creed and want to play it all again – especially as number 2 is out soon – but anyone looking to play it for the first time should well consider going for the DC edition.
With the sequel due to be released next month, the price of Assassins Creed has fallen to just £8.95 on The Game Collection. This is the cheapest deal currently available according to price comparison – although they only have 19 left in stock at the moment so it might be a good idea to get in there fast on this one.
Although no one could deny that Assassins Creed features some of the best graphics on any Xbox 360 game, it’s just a shame that the whole thing gets let down by repetitive gameplay. Unfortunately the missions just aren’t varied enough and always consist of having to go through the same old pre-assassination build up. You either have to follow a target, pick–pocket someone or eavesdrop on a conversation.
This means that although you’re initially awestruck by the graphics, and convinced this is shaping up to be one of the best games you’ve ever played, it doesn’t take long before you start to get fed up with the repetition. However that is not to say the game is a complete let down, on the contrary, the way in which the designers have recreated the 12th century cities of Acre, Damascus and Jerusalem is simply stunning.
The narrow, winding streets which team with yelling traders, monks, soldiers - even lepers – give Assassins Creed a sense of authenticity and life rarely captured so well by a computer game. The combat system is also a lot of fun – although after you master the counter attack move you can literally take on armies of crusaders. Although £35 might be a little steep, at £8.95 this is an absolute bargain, so get in there while you can.
From now until Monday the 31st of August 2009, Tesco Direct are offering a 20% discount on any pre-order video games and accessories.
There is no Tesco voucher code needed to take advantage of this promotion, you will see the discount automatically reflected in your basket.
If there is a particular game that you were interested in buying, check the price on Tesco Direct, and then make sure you price compare elsewhere. Just because they are running this 20% offer, doesn't mean that it will be the cheapest online - so do your research!
Tesco Direct usually charge a delivery fee, but any pre-release games are excluded from that! Free delivery too!
Thanks to fragaliciousbob on Hotukdeals.
The cheapest place to get hold of a brand new copy of Assassin's Creed is currently on Play.com where they are going for £8.99. Given that Assassin's Creed is not only a game in which virtual homicide has never been so much fun, it’s also one of best looking around, making this a very worthwhile addition to your XBOX 360 collection.
However before I start singing its praises be warned, the game does have drawbacks. The missions are extremely repetitive and always consist of the same handful of boring tasks over and over again. You’ll either have to sit on a bench eavesdropping, go and pick pocket someone or else beat some information out of them. Going through the same series of tedious pre-assassination build ups before finally getting to the good stuff requires a certain amount of tolerance.
The story is also dire. Don’t worry about me spoiling things for you because the whole thing is given away in about the first five seconds of the first cut scene. It’s like watching the Matrix backwards. Why the developers felt the need for this narrative layering – where you’re not really a 12th century assassin but a bartender called Desmond – made no sense to me. But to do it justice, the game makes up for these misdemeanours with one of the most atmospheric and visually exciting game worlds I have ever seen.
It is set during the third crusade when Richard the Lion Heart and his army of penitent crusaders (the medieval equivalent of football hooligans) were having it large and beating up Arabs throughout the Holy Land. It consists of three cities: Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre, all of which have been recreated so vividly, and with such a sense of authenticity, they probably aren’t far off what these cities actually looked like at the time. The streets are constantly alive with banter and inhabited with everything from beggars, merchants and men-at-arms, to scholars and lepers.
The fighting is also great fun and very satisfying. Your medieval arsenal is diverse. You have a hidden blade which slides down from some contraption beneath the wrist like something out of Taxi Driver. You have throwing knives for taking down enemies at a distance, and both a long and short sword. Combat is a little tricky to begin with, but after you master the counter attack technique you’re basically invincible. The game is principally about stealth, but you can literally defeat whole armies in an orgy of blood shed if the fancy takes you. You can even turn on the civilians and butcher entire neighbourhoods which is superb… come on you know you’d be tempted!
Thanks to ggmurray from hotukdeals
Japanese rape game RapeLay sees more controversy in today’s news roundup. Also, Assassins creed 2 sees a limited edition box coming its way, the rumoured Apple Tablet may be a game focused machine, and more Final Fantasy XIV details come to light.
Any big name game released nowadays of course comes with its own Limited edition box, usually coming in some form or metal or steel if it’s special enough. Assassin’s Creed 2 has of course followed suit, as the game's Twitter account showed off the Limited edition box, which is currently only available through GameStop, in the US and Canada.
Aside from the game itself, your extra money goes towards a statue of Ezio, an art book, and two exclusive in game maps. Although take note these additional areas are for exploration rather than extra missions. The UK should be receiving a similar edition, although as the previously mentioned version is only exclusive to US and Canada it probably won’t be as substantial. [1UP]
RapeLay is a controversial Japanese game with rape being the aim of the game. Massive controversy ensued once America heard of the Japanese exclusive game, which surprisingly even sees the light of day there. BGameBox, a Japanese distributor has believed they’ve found a way around from facing backlash.
Instead of putting rape games in a category that actually lets the consumers know what sort of games are sold based on the categories name, they now sell them under the “Platinum” title, sounding a lot nicer and friendlier along the way. It remains likely these “rape games” will eventually cease to sell among respected distributers, forcing the game underground, or a name change at the least. [Destructzoid]
Apple has been rumoured to be working on a game-focused machine for a while now, and after the success of merging the iPhone with gaming, who can blame them? Recent leaks hint towards Apple working on a touch-screen tablet computer, embracing the fine art of gaming. A group of analysts have privately been shown Apples latest project, and as expected gone public with the details.
Several sources have indicated the tablet will be showing off a 10-inch, multi-touch screen, a full-on OS X operating system, and a price around $800. Some sources also imply this new product will be sold as an all-in-one media hub. A pre-Christmas release is to be expected, and as long as these sources tell no lies, an official announcement should be on its way. [Develop]
Final Fantasy XIV is the first MMO Final Fantasy since XI, with details pretty scarce at the moment, although a few new races and jobs have come to light. The new races include Hyuran, Lalafell, Elzen, Miqo’te and Roegadyn, which are all based on existing races in Final Fantasy XI. In regards to Jobs, four have been revealed so far, with two sub-classes for each, including; Fighter (swordsman, archer), Sorcerer (enchanter, warlock), Crafter (blacksmith, cook) and Gatherer (gardener, fishermen). Final Fantasy XI will hopefully see release in 2010 for the PS3 and PC. [Kotaku]
It's not often we leap to an untested franchise with such glee, but between its clever marketing and mouthwatering premise, Assassin's Creed quick became a fan-favorite well before the game hit store shelves and hands met controllers. Alternating between the near future and the distant past, Ubisoft's medieval action-adventurer promised to redefine next-generation gaming.
But does Assassin's Creed nail the landing? Or fall hard?
While Assassin's Creed is being pitched as the tale of Third Crusades' Hashshashin, Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad; the central protagonist is, in fact, a man from the future. Desmond Miles - voiced by everyman actor, Nolan North - is but a lowly bartender until he is abducted by mega-corporation, Abstergo, who strap him to a device dubbed the Animus and force him to experience the life of his ancestors through genetic-memory.Click here to see if Assassin's Creed hits the sweet spot
Assassin’s Creed 2 has to be one of this years most eagerly anticipated game sequels. So if (like all of us) you have been keeping a keen ear to the ground for release dates and decent pre-order deals, then get ready for good news. Argos are now taking pre-orders for Assassin's Creed 2 at what appears to be £36.99 - but don’t be deceived! After adding a copy to your basket simply enter the code GAME20 for 20% off the pre-order price which brings it down to £29.59. The next best price which you’ll manage to pre-order the game for is £36.73 – so get in there while you can!
There is no denying that the first Assassin's Creed was a great game, and from a cinematic and visual point of view, one of best in a long time. The cities of Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus not only looked incredible, but had this feeling of authenticity and life to them which were truly unparalleled. From the street sellers, the beggars, the soldiers, the various dwellings…the whole thing had such a degree of historical realism, they probably weren’t far off what these cities actually looked like during the 3rd Crusade.
However for all its achievements, Assassin’s Creed was still wracked with problems from a gameplay perspective. The most significant being the repetitious missions which utterly failed to complement the superb environments. There was just no dynamism to the tasks you were asked to undertake. However, well aware of these problems the designers have taken steps to totally revamp gameplay in the sequel.
Assassin's Creed 2 takes place later than its predecessor, during the European renaissance where the rapid growth of new ideas is bringing about fundamental changes in society. The player takes control of the assassin Ezio, who unlike Altair, provides a wide variety of gameplay possibilities. Missions now include things like stalking, protecting, or pursuing targets on foot. There is now a daylight/night time cycle and the streets are filled with danger from pickpockets.
Most significantly of all however is Ezio’s ability to use many of Leonardo de Vinci’s legendary inventions. Winged contraptions can be found scattered across rooftops and Ezio can use these to sore between the Venetian rooftops while using the heat from bonfires to keep himself airborne. So if you were slightly disappointed by the fact Assassin's Creed failed to capitalize on its potential take heart. It was merely a rough draft to which Assassin's Creed 2 has made all the necessary corrections!