By blog on Feb. 22, 2010.
Ubisoft unveiled their new security package for games, and gamers are quite angered by it.
Many fans of Assassin’s Creed will be excitedly waiting for the sequel to come out in a little over a fortnight, but some recent news from Ubisoft has fans somewhat up in arms. Ubisoft has announced a brand new Digital Rights Manager – DRM – for all their games that have online capabilities. This system is supposed to ensure that their games are no longer being pirated, but of course, there’s a price.
If you want to play Assassin’s Creed II on the PC, you’ve got to have a constant net connection. If your connection drops out, you’re kicked out of the game, and are faced with a screen telling you that you can either wait for the connection to re-establish itself, or quit. You’ll lose your progress since your last save point if that happens, too. Oh and if Ubisoft’s servers go down? Well, Ubisoft stated that “The idea is to avoid that point as much as possible, but we have been clear from the beginning that the game does need an internet connection for you to play. So if it goes down for real for a little while, then yeah, you can’t play. ”
Notice the way they said that? “…Avoid that point as much as possible…” You know, that sort of sounds like they’re trying to avoid saying it outright and owning this nasty flaw in their plan.
So, what to gamers get out of this irritating new anti-piracy tactic? Well, you’ll get to be able to install the game on as many PCs as you like, you’ll have cloud-based save data – fancy words for ‘on the internet’ – and you’ll not need a disc to play. So if you happen to play PC games at two different locations, you’ll be able to access the save file from both, which is the only real benefit that I see here. Most games allow for at least a couple of installs, and as for the disc not being necessary, that’s only an issue if you’re not careful with the disc and allow it to become scratched.
It feels a lot like Ubisoft is ransoming their games to us, and I really don’t think it’s a good idea. I think that hackers are going to find a way around the system, and the only one who’ll suffer for it are gamers who do the right thing and pay for the games. Bad show, Ubisoft, bad show.
By blog on Feb. 21, 2010.
Some people are already starting in on Final Fantasy XIII, but are their concerns warranted?
Fans of the series are eagerly snapping up any piece of info they can about the soon to be released Final Fantasy XIII, but not everything they’ve read has sat well with them. On the game’s official website, one of the creators has talked about the linearity of the first half of the game, saying that it’s largely story-driven and you don’t get to run around exploring until you’re in the second half. It’s an attempt to get players invested in the story and very familiar with the new game mechanics.
I’ll say right now that I’m no stranger to having a go at a game before I’ve played it. I panned the crap out of Fable 3 just the other day, but I’m a little less inclined to do that with the Final Fantasy series. One major difference is that the Final Fantasy series has really established itself, there have been no failures in the series so far, no games that just weren’t up to par, though sure, some people favour certain iterations over others, but none of the games have been bad or poor.
Okay so what am I thinking about this? Well, one of the major issues that fans are angry about – I’m speaking based on comments on sites like IGN – is that there aren’t any towns to explore, and whilst I understand that, those extra towns just wouldn’t fit in with this story line. The first half of the game takes place in Cocoon, a paradise city built for humans that floats in sky above the planet Pulse. Now, the people of Cocoon don’t visit the surface of the planet, ever. Heck, most of them have never even seen it! So how would it make sense to have extra towns for people to explore?
Well, you could argue that the story could have been structured differently so that there were towns to explore, but I think that if you’ve got a good story, go with it. Changing things like this could be the inspiration the creators needed to make an especially good Final Fantasy game.
Another issue many are having with this particular Final Fantasy is the linearity, the fact that players are driven by storyline for the first half of the game before they’re given free reign. Now, I can understand that that’s a long time, but on the other hand Japanese RPGs are usually like this to some extent, you’re guided for longer, but the story line is usually quite in depth, so it’s worth it. I do like that it will give players a long time to get used to the new Paradigm mechanic, but mostly I am just trusting in the franchise at this point on this particular point, and I’m fine with that, Square Enix has earned it.
Oh, and how funny is it that we are now up the thirteenth ‘Final Fantasy?
By blog on Feb. 16, 2010.
Finally I’m putting my thoughts down on the second Mass Effect game.
Where to start… Okay so after I finished the first Mass Effect, I waited a day before starting the next one. Upon starting I could see straight away that there were indeed massive improvements to the graphics, which was nice. The game opened up with a scene of the Normandy being destroyed by some unidentified massive space craft that looked half like a rock, and Shepard being ’spaced’ and dying.
Great start! Then a group from Cerberus – yeah, remember that crazy black ops group? – picks you up and fixes you better than you were before! Yay! But then you’ve got to run around with a group of Cerberus people for pretty much the rest of the game, and deal with the irritating ‘Illusive Man’ – voiced by Martin Sheen, and seems to be an homage to ‘The Smoking Man’ of X-Files fame – to figure out why whole colonies of humans have gone missing.
You get only two of your previous crew members, Tali and Garrus, though Joker is still your pilot. You do, however, get a bunch of new people to run around with, many of whom are irritating in one way or another. Miranda is your link to Cerberus, and comes off as mean and frosty, though you can make her less so by completing her ‘loyalty mission’. Then there’s Jacob, who’s strangely brusque with you considering you’re his commanding officer. You get a very strong biotic named Jack who’s kind of insane – understandably so – but who is also very rude and foul mouthed. You get a Salarian doctor named Mordin, who’s actually pretty funny, and a Krogan named Grunt, who I like quite a bit, even if he’s violent as all heck. Samara is quite nice, an Asari Justicar, so at least she’s fighting the good fight. Thane is a Drell assassin, and in spite of his profession, is a stand up guy. Haven’t gotten to know Legion all that much yet, but it’s interesting having a Geth on board. Then there’s Zaeed, a human bounty hunter, who’s an irritating old ass, in my opinion.
You’re no longer with the Alliance, who’ve tried to say that all your warnings about the Reapers where silliness, and that really it was just the Geth and Saren that were the issue, and you’re on a bigger, better Normandy supplied by Cerberus.
Personally I am enjoying this game more, but the storyline is far, far less appealing than the previous game. I don’t really dig fighting on the side of Cerberus, especially with the Illusive Man being all creepy and ‘end justifying any means’ kind of thing. I personally think he’s some remnant from the Protheans, perhaps an AI or some such, but either way, I don’t like him and I don’t like working for him.
I’m also irritated by the new HUD, and think that it would actually be, oh, I don’t know, a good thing to be able to see your damn health and shields bars!
Yeah, mixed feelings on this one. I liked a heck of a lot about the first game, and I am enjoying the sequel a lot, but I am not as happy with the over-all game as I was with the first one.
By blog on Feb. 15, 2010.
I’m aggravated, and I frankly think he oughtn’t be!
Every now and then I go and check George R R Martin’s ‘Not A Blog’ to see how much longer I’ll be waiting for a book that he said would be done within a year, five years ago! In perusing his previous posts, I noticed an irritated mini rant at his blog readers, and I had to investigate.
It turned out that back on the 29th of January, Martin posted a very brief, and rather vague in my opinion, blog post that was titled ‘A Good Day, With Snow‘ and the only contents of said post was ”nuff said’ and the mood listed at the bottom was ‘accomplished’. Now, I took this to mean he’d finished a Jon Snow chapter, but many others didn’t. Comments poured in on the post congratulating Martin for finishing the book, and excitement rose to see when the book would hit the stores. There were also many others like myself who took this post to mean that George had just finished a chapter, but it was easy to see where some had gotten the wrong idea.
The following day, George posted another blog entry, but this one had a lot more in it. This mini rant, entitled ‘No, No, No‘ – as if admonishing a naughty child or disobedient dog – was having a go at his blog readers for trying to ‘decode’ his previous post and assuming that it meant that A Dance With Dragons was done. He made a comment about this being why he hated to make updates, and that all he was saying was that he’d had a particularly good day of writing. To that I say, for a person who makes their livelihood off of communication, he should be able to readily understand why his ambiguous post got the hopes up of many readers.
Quite frankly, the idea of Martin being aggravated with us, his readers, for the understandable assumption that that terribly obscure post meant that the next ASoIaF book was finished is quite preposterous. Sure, I thought it was quite clearly about Jon Snow, but it’s much like an optical illusion, it’s easy to see two different images contained in the small amount of information given in that post.
The fact that fans of this series have had to wait five years for the second half of the last book is bloody ridiculous. The first in the series was released back in 1996, and at that point it was set to be a trilogy. Book two was released in 1999, book three in 2000, and book four in 2005. We are now to expect seven books in the series, but if Martin keeps this writing pace up – and lack of focus, in my opinion – we’ll be waiting on the final instillation till 2020!
By blog on Feb. 14, 2010.
In my opinion, the Fable franchise took yet another nose dive when they chose to make Fable III in the way that they are. Let me explain.
To me, the only thing that the Fable franchise really had going for it was that it was an RPG on the Xbox 360, which doesn’t have a heck of a lot of games in that genre. There are more and more coming out, which is fantastic, and I seriously can’t wait to play Final Fantasy XIII, but when Fable first appeared, it was definitely part of a limited group of not-completely-crap RPGs.
So, where is Fable III going now? Well, it places the Hero in the throne of Albion at about half way through the game, and from there you’ve got to make the big decisions, and supposedly feel the weight of all those who are counting on you. Molyneaux actually said in an interview with IGN that this would allow gamers to know how Barack Obama felt when he received criticism for not closing Guantanamo Bay as he had intended to do. Let me just reiterate that. Fable III will make players feel the weight of their in-game decisions, as strongly as the U.S. President feels the weight of his. Are you kidding me Mr Molyneux? Are you alright? Do you need to lie down, take a cup of tea? Perhaps a cold compress could help you with those delusions of grandeur!
The HUD is completely gone from the game, there’s no health bar, in fact Molyneaux swore during the interview about why they would need an ‘****ing’ heath bar. There are no more augments or levelling up in the game, rather your weapons will get larger with more use – how daft is that! – and the power of them will be based in some way on your Gamer Point score. Yep, how utterly ridiculous. Your weapons will also change depending on what you use them for. Cut down a slew of innocents and your sword will constantly drip blood. Fight the good fight and it’ll start to glow.
All in all this game sounds like a complete and total train wreck that I’m very happy to not play. If you care to read more about it, here’s a link to the IGN article.
By blog on Feb. 1, 2010.
It’s a shocking development for a franchise I’ve loved playing for a very long time… until now.
So, wow. Just wow. How hard can this game possibly lose? I’ve played the Tekken series for a long time now, I think I first began on Tekken 2, then owned 3, and 4, though I don’t think I played the fifth version. I really enjoyed those games, so very, very much. My SO and I bonded whilst playing Tekken 3 on the PS One; ahh, fond memories. That was a good decade ago, and now here we are with a sad, sad, version of a much loved series.
Tekken, for those who’ve managed to not hear of the game, is a fighting game which came out in ‘94 as an arcade game, but then was moved over the the Playstation for the next four iterations, and then finally was ported to the Xbox 360 for Tekken 6 as well as the Playstation 3. It’s been one of the best fighting games for the past fifteen years, and I was sure that it would continue to be so. However, the sixth sequel is just… just awful.
Okay so I played it for two days, on and off, so I gave it a fair chance. My SO and I happily placed the disc into the 360 and started the game up. We knew the music was going to be less than great because of the IGN review, and they also mentioned the lack-lustre sound effects. We said we could deal with that and away we went.
We picked some of our favourite characters straight up, and it was nice to see so many characters available for use straight away. I fought as Bryan Fury, and my SO fought as Ling Xiaoyu. Okay, here we were, and yeah, the music wasn’t great, but I could deal with that. My SO absolutely hated the poor fight sound effects, saying she never felt like she landed a proper attack because the sounds were so muted.
The controls of the game were poor to say the least. I’m a good fighter, but it felt like the only way to play this game was to button mash, and then we actually tried the single-player modes; up until this point, we’d only been fighting each other.
So I tried arcade mode, hoping to unlock more content. I got to the third fight and was then faced with ‘*Oops*’ the bear. A blue version of Kuma with gold wrist braces and paw-pads. This ridiculously difficult opponent took me thirteen attempts to beat, in spite of being able to get through every other arcade/single-player mode in a fighting game pretty straight forwardly in the past. There was no learning curve, the AI went from complete dunce that will allow you to throw them over and over, to nigh-on unstoppable knows every attack in the catalogue kind of opponent in only three rounds. I mean, what the hell’s with that?
Then we tried the ‘Scenario’ mode as a cursory glance online suggested this was the way to unlock content. It was terrible. A strange strolling along a path fight were you were stuck with an annoying android who’s trying to explain the abstract defunct story-line. I couldn’t stand this style, it was very unintuitive.
Combine all of this with some seriously ugly character models and the worst fractured storyline you could imagine, we ended up taking it back and trading it for Soul Calibur IV. Sheesh.