The Assassins Creed series is one that divides anyone who has ever played them. They divide Alan and I in fact, he buys the collectors edition of every new title the day of release whereas I’m… Not so keen on them. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as simple as Alan loving Assassins Creed and I hating it, even the individual games divide me as I wasn’t keen on the first Assassins Creed nor Unity overall, but I thoroughly enjoyed Black Flag, the fourth main game in the series. As it happens I recently bought Assassins Creed II, so I’m giving the whole thing a fair shot by now owning four of the main titles.
What I think divides fans of the series so much, particularly recently, is the mess surrounding the release of Unity. In the buildup to its release a lot of emphasis was placed on its four player co-op mode, and at first we must have missed something as we thought that feature was available throughout the entire game, it wasn’t until later we realised it wasn’t and then when we both played it realised further still that there were only a handful of co-op missions available altogether. However that was more of a personal gripe we had (not to mention the only reason why I personally bought it), the major problems were with bugs. And my goodness were they plentiful, just watch this video for proof of that:
I like to think I have a broad and varied interest in various computer game genres. There are very few I won’t play, perhaps the most obvious being fighting games as I haven’t played anything since Tekken Tag Tournament back in the Playstation 2 days. One genre I do enjoy on a casual basis is vehicle simulation (something which Alan berates me over whenever the subject is mentioned), ever since I first played a game called Aviator on the BBC Micro computer in the late 1980’s – you can see it was primitive, but I loved it. From there followed space simulators and eventually came Microsoft Train Simulator in the late 1990’s, and Flight Simulator at around the same time.
I adored them all, and in today’s market where simulators’ popularity is still enjoyed but somewhat over-saturated with crap like Street Cleaning Simulator available there are still a few gems out there, most of all perhaps is Euro Truck Simulator 2. This is a game I can’t describe to anyone who doesn’t already have at least a passing interest in the genre, but for me it’s a relaxing way to unwind and just get lost behind the wheel of a truck, selling goods and making money for my fledgling haulage company. I can picture a few people reading this with one eyebrow raised but that’s how it is for a lot of people who play these games, and as someone who doesn’t drive in the real world it’s as close as I’m going to get to doing that too.
Speaking of driving, that’s another genre I’ve always enjoyed to an extent, particularly arcade racers like GRID, the Burnout series and the Need For Speed franchise. I’ve never truly appreciated the simulation racers like Gran Turismo, Forza and Project Cars, and until this week I couldn’t quite work out why. Aside from being utterly useless at them.
I can’t quite remember why, but a few weeks back I developed a burning desire to own a steering wheel for the PC. I think it was while reading a review for Project Cars, as it looked like a game I’d enjoy – great graphics, a progressive career mode… Oh but wait, it’s a simulation racer, I’m terrible at those, never mind. I couldn’t shake the thought that I’d probably otherwise enjoy the game as you can tinker with the cars themselves and race in true-to-life events at real circuits, but I’d spend more time bouncing off safety barriers and rear-ending my opponents than screaming down back straights at 200mph in something vaguely considered to be a straight line. I decided to read up on some player opinions rather than those of professional reviewers, and one verdict was pretty much unanimous – to get the most out of Project Cars it’s damn near essential to own a steering wheel.
It’ll be almost exactly five years to the day since we saw a Rock Band game before the release of Harmonix’s next offering in the music game genre. In fact it’ll be five years since we’ve seen anything in the music game genre, as the two titans Rock Band and Guitar Hero haven’t given us any new games whatsoever since 2010, and both are making a comeback this October with Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live respectively. Is now the time for a comeback?
The reason why we’ve not seen a music game in so long is a direct result of the developers’ own doing. Over an initial period of five years between 2005 and 2010 we saw a ridiculous number of Rock Band and particularly Guitar Hero games – eight main titles (six Guitar Hero, two DJ Hero and Band Hero), five expansions and several more spinoffs for the PC and Nintendo DS such as Guitar Hero: On Tour. Add to that the three main Rock Band titles and their spinoffs including Beatles, Green Day and even Lego Rock Band and what we had was a hugely oversaturated market, contributing to the swift downfall of the genre starting in 2009.
Recently we decided to play through a few heist setup missions on Grand Theft Auto 5, specifically ‘Series A Funding’ as that offered double RP points and cash rewards. One of the setups, ‘Trash Truck,’ involves posing as garbage men, stealing a garbage truck and attempting to pick up certain trash bags off the street that are full of drugs while defending the haul from a rival gang along the way. Here are the results of that effort captured in screenshot form.
The image above is our team. Alan is on the far left, then Pete, followed by Pete’s Lost Twin and finally some dude who spent the entire time either getting shot or run over. We’ll call him The Fourth Guy.
We love pirate themed games. I’ve put a lot of time into Sid Meier’s Pirates, and Alan and I between us have put nearly 100 hours into Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. Hell, I shamefully played Puzzle Pirates for more hours than I’d ever admit. Blackwake is a new multiplayer FPS game based around controlling every aspect of a pirate ship from captain to gunners, so teamwork is essential. It’s currently on Kickstarter where it has comfortably made its target total for a release on PC and Mac, so hopefully the fact that there’s a lot of interest in this game will mean it sails through the Kickstarter phase along its way to a full release. Get it? Sails? I’m wasted here.
What makes this game appealing to me is how hilarious it looks. If you’ve ever seen an Alan & Pete Play video you’ll know we like to laugh a lot, and this game looks like it’ll make us do exactly that. Take a look at the following trailer:
This is exactly the sort of game we thrive on playing, hence why most of our videos consist mainly of chaos, no idea what we’re doing and generally getting everything wrong – exactly what this game promotes itself as. Here are some of the features you can expect when the game is out of pre-alpha, according to Kotaku:
This week at Gamescom Square-Enix showed us another new and frankly strange trailer for their upcoming title Final Fantasy XV (15), which you can view below. Entitled ‘Dawn’ it’s more like a hugathon for nearly half of its duration than anything worthwhile:
The idea here is to give a little back story to the game, 15 years before we’re introduced to it, but little was given away in terms of… Anything really. There’s nothing in the way of general story progression and most importantly a release date, which at this stage wasn’t expected but most definitely hoped for. Instead we got main character Noctis hugging it out with his old man King Regis for nearly two minutes of a 3:14 video and little else that could be considered relevant.
Square also put together a presentation teasing a few story details and showing a little more gameplay footage, but there wasn’t even a hint of a release date for Final Fantasy XV – only that they were still ‘on schedule’ to finish the game by a set date. That date could be damn near anything they please as now the game had been in development for more than a decade, anything from three months to another three years probably wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows. The original plan was for Square to kickstart a marketing campaign starting with Gamescom and presumably building from there, fans were hoping they would at least start with a release window and gradually share more information throughout the PAX Event in three weeks time and then end with a solid release date with a ton of new info/gameplay at the Tokyo Game Show in September, aiming for a release sometime between winter this year and summer 2016. As it stands it looks like Square-Enix has the intention of doing nothing more than showing that trailer again at PAX. Then again at TGS. And that’ll most likely be it for this year, so it looks certain we won’t be playing the game this year, and even next year is looking doubtful if the rate of new information that has been made available this year is anything to go by.
When we play Grand Theft Auto Online we generally follow the same formula – we do a mission or two, maybe a heist, joke around for a while… and then it starts. Alan has to either shoot Pete or run him over, usually multiple times, and in this video Pete decided he’d had enough and swore REVEEEEEEENGE after being run over for about the sixth time in as many minutes.
Camping out in the woods Alan? Bullet to the head! Having a shootout with the police? Bullet to the head! Casually stealing a car? You know what happens next.