10 December 2016

Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection - Review

Ezio Auditore is the fan favourite assassin from the Assassin Creed games, so getting the chance to play through those games again, on current consoles, was always going to be a treat, but how does this remaster hold up.

It is important to note right off the bat that the Ezio Collection does not complete the entire Desmond story, it is just the three games that stat Ezio, so while Assassin’s Creed 2 starts off with the escape of Desmond from the Abstergo facility, there is little context to the events that happened before then, outside of the brief overview video. Also, while Brotherhood ends great for Ezio, Desmond still has more story to be told, which is not touched upon at all, which is a shame, not because it’s a great story, but because you get 3 of 5 chapters. Of course, back to Ezio, the stories being told are pretty good, with Assassins Creed 2 and Brotherhood being the best of the three, stories of revenge, learning and more, with Ezio growing from an impetuous youth to a master assassin and mentor.

Of course as a remaster, the bulk of the effort goes to the visuals and the audio, which I can say here is almost worth the cost of admission. The textures all look amazing, being able to distinguish between lightly brown stone and lightly brown ground is a welcome change, but more so, the level of detail on outfits really shine, especially in some scenes in Brotherhood, now they stand out, as one might expect for where the game is set. Each game looks different, purely based on the design that the game was first assigned with, Assassins Creed 2 looks nice, but if the faces don’t provide you with nightmares then you are made of sterner stuff than most. What was fine back when the game first came out, is now very bad, purely based on how bad the original animations hold up, faces distort, while trying to convey the simplest expressions.

Brotherhood looks better, if only because the animations hold up better, but Revelations is the best looking of the three, on an animation point. Each of the games is a product of their time, which shows through now, but they are all nice looking games with the remaster. Audio wise, the games hold up, I will be honest, I can’t recall most of the audio from the original games, except for the excellent voice work of Roger Craig Smith, who kept Ezio grounded with his performance throughout the games. While Ezio is great, each of the vocal performances still hold up today. Thankfully the music has stood the test of time as well, while it won’t win any awards, the entire score, across all three games does a solid job of setting the tone for the scenes, both those of a light hearted nature and those of a darker job.

Sadly, there are a few issues with the collection, the biggest or most noticeable comes from the fact that the game loads elements randomly, there were times when guards would spawn right in front of me, triggering a chase, but it was also random citizens of the cities that did it as well. Not only would they spawn, but they would then do a mini freak out, before settling into the job the AI assigned them. The other issue with the collection is how it loads into it, when you get to the main menu, you can choose either of the games or of the two movies also included. Once you have made your game selection, the game acts like it kicks you out and then loads up the game you wanted, complete with menus there, almost like you changed a physical disc. When you leave a game to go back out to the game selection menu, it reloads the entire menu, as if it were the first time you started it up, while not a broken part, it is just weird.

Ubisoft have proven they are not immune to the remaster phase before, but the Ezio Collection is perhaps the best example of how to do something right, there are some performance issues across the games, but the quality overall is pretty well done.

Thanks to Ubisoft Australia for supplying the game for review
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09 December 2016

Super Mario Run Needs Internet To Play

The countdown is on for Super Mario Run as we are just under a week until release and as always, Nintendo have released a video showing you how to play.

They also released a tv commerical for the game, which shows people running all over the world.

But with all the good comes some bad, series creator and Super Mario Run producer Shigeru Miyamoto had this to say to Mashable about why the game must always been online, which means no airplane playing for you.

I learned today that Super Mario Run requires an internet connection to play. What's the reason for that? Are there any thoughts about an offline mode?
For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us. And also for consumers who are purchasing the game, we want to make sure that we're able to offer it to them in a way that the software is secure, and that they're able to play it in a stable environment.
We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the [Super Mario Run] modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure. This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game.
But actually, the security element is one of the reasons that we decided to go with iPhone and iOS first. So this is just — based on the current development environment — a requirement that's been built into the game to support security and the fact that the three different modes are connecting to the network and interacting with one another.
We had thought at one point that it would be nice to have the World Tour [story] mode available standalone, to be able to play without that connection. But then the challenge is when that's operating in a standalone mode, it actually complicates the connection back to the Toad Rally and Kingdom modes. And because those two modes are relying on the network save, we had to integrate the World Tour mode as well.
Just to be clear: When you say "security," you mean the risk of piracy, right?
That's correct.
Unlike our dedicated game devices, the game is not releasing in a limited number of countries. We're launching in 150 countries and each of those countries has different network environments and things like that. So it was important for us to be able to have it secure for all users.
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Wood Elves Emerge For Total War Warhammer

Today marks the release of two pieces of content for Total War Warhammer, the first is addition of the Wood Elves to the game, through paid DLC, the second are a wealth of free content available to all players.

For those looking for theTwo new heroes, the Grey Wizard and Jade Wizard, as well as their corresponding lores of magic – the Lore of Shadows and Lore of Life, have been made available to all players, completely free. In addition, owners of Call of the Beastmen will receive a new free Legendary Lord – Morghur the Shadowgave – along with a new, deadly flying unit, the vicious Harpies.

You can purchase the Wood Elves DLC right here

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Raiju Is Set To Take Your PlayStation 4 Gaming To The Next Level

Razer has announced that PlayStation 4 players can go professional with the Razer Raiju, their first PlayStation 4 controller, built in conjunction with Sony and professional eSports players.

“The Razer Raiju is a great controller,” says FeLonY. “Its shape fits perfectly in my hands and the stick and grip customisation allows me to tweak the feel until I'm happy. The controller is very responsive and the trigger layout is smart.”

The four-button Quick Control Panel of the Razer Raiju provides easy access to a variety of functions. From toggling between two customisable profiles to muting the mic and adjusting game volume, users need not take their hands off the controller. At the base of the panel is the universal 3.5 mm audio port for stereo audio output and microphone input.

Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan says: “We are committed to providing PS4 esports athletes the tools they need to finish at the top of the podiums.”

For low-latency gameplay, critical for winning tournaments, the Razer Raiju features a lightweight braided cable with a detachable Micro-USB connector. For easy storage and transportation, the controller comes bundled with a premium carrying case to keep it protected during travel.

For more details, hit up the official site.
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The Wizarding World Expands With Lego Dimensions

The world of Harry Potter has grown a lot this year, a new stage play, the first of 5 movies staring Newt Scamander. Now in the latest Story Pack for LEGO Dimensions, the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them make their debut as LEGO characters and critters.

Players can experience memorable scenes from the film firsthand in LEGO Dimensions, set in a magical 1920’s New York, or take the Fantastic Beasts folks into other entertainment universes.
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Modern Warfare Remastered Gets New Maps For Free

Activision has announced that Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered is getting an update on December 13 that is bring six maps to the game and two new modes, all for free.

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