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Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011

  

Ships Ahoy - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Ubisoft announces the Windows edition of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is now available in North America. The standard edition of the game is available at retail or digitally, offering the main game, plus the Abstergo Project Update 1.0 and 2.0, and The Da Vinci Disappearance DLC. There is also a Digital Deluxe Edition that's not in stores, which offers the above as well as two multiplayer characters, two 2 single-player maps, a 1 skin, and additional multimedia content. Here are some new screenshots, and here's word on the game:

The critically acclaimed single-player experience of Assassin’s Creed is back and better than ever as Ezio returns in an epic struggle against the powerful Templar Order. Now a legendary Master Assassin, he must journey into Italy’s greatest city, Rome, center of power, greed and corruption to strike at the heart of the enemy. Defeating the corrupt tyrants entrenched there will require not only strength, but leadership, as Ezio commands an entire Brotherhood that will rally to his side. Only by working together can the Assassins defeat their mortal enemies.

And for the first time, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood offers a never-before-seen multiplayer layer. Players can help the Templars by using Abstergo to train in the art of Assassination to eliminate the Assassins once and for all. Players can choose from a wide range of unique characters, each with their own signature weapons and assassination techniques, and match their skills against other players from all over the world in different game modes.

Dead Meets Lead Demo, Date

The Dead Meets Lead Website now offers downloads of The Challenge, a single-level demo for their upcoming zombie-slaying action game. Keldyn Interactive also announces that May 3rd is the release date for the full version of the game. Here's a bit on The Challenge, explaining it should present just that:

The Challenge is a specially designed single level version of Dead Meets Lead. As the name might imply, it is constructed to be truly difficult to complete. For those who do complete it awaits the reward of getting their name inscribed into the official Hall of Fame on the Dead Meets Lead website.

The map starts with The Captain finding himself in a small glade in the depths of the swamplands. He senses that something is wrong with the place, but before realizing what is about to happen he is swarmed by zombies. Having no choice but to stand his ground, he heroically defends himself against several waves of attacks, each wave harder than the previous.

Crysis 2 Patched

MyCrysis has word that the Day 1 patch for Crysis 2 should download automatically when players launch Crytek's new first-person shooter sequel (thanks Big Download). Word on what it changes, including the complete removal of auto-aim, follows. Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II Patched

Battle.net announces that a new patch is now automatically available for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to update the RTS sequel to version 1.3.0. The full change list is immense, so here's the Reader's Digest version: "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty patch 1.3.0 is now live! This patch features adjustments to race balance, notable Join Custom Game improvements, support for the upcoming Grandmaster League, and several bug fixes." Thanks Blizzplanet.

Dungeons DLC Announcement

Publisher Kalypso Media and developer Realmforge announce Into the Dark is the title of the DLC for Dungeons revealed last week via a listing on Impulse. They confirm this will be released on March 28, and offer more details on what it includes:

Kalypso Media USA, Inc. and Realmforge are pleased to announce an exciting new bundle of content will soon be available for their popular strategy/simulation game, Dungeons. Titled “Into the Dark”, this new DLC pack will include one new mission (about 1.5 hours additional gameplay), 10 new sandbox-mode maps and 19 new prestige gimmicks. The new DLC will cost $3.99 USD / 3.99 GBP, and will be available via the Kalypso Launcher from within Dungeons or as a digital download via most portals on March 28. For more information about Dungeons, please visit www.dungeons-game.com.

Free Angry Birds

Installing the Intel AppUp Center via Best Buy will get you a free copy of Angry Birds for the PC. This page has full details on the AppUp Center, which is an app store for Netbooks. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.

Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods Enhanced Edition Released

Mad Vulture Games now offers the Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods Enhanced Edition, a bit earlier than expected. The patch is available freely to owners of the game, or the Enhanced Edition is available via Steam, where it is currently on sale for 75% off. This trailer celebrates the news, and this changelog outlines all that this changes in the role-playing sequel.

New WoW Flying Mount for Sale Nears

The Warcraft Facebook Page now offers an image of a new flying mount with a caption that says it is: "Coming soon to the Blizzard Store." Thanks Blizzplanet.

Rock of Ages Website

The Rock of Ages Website is now live, as home to this upcoming action game where players will get their rocks off by smashing everything in sight. The site offers a trailer and other media, information on units, and discussion forums.

Banned WoW Player's Bribe Gambit

This Craigslist ad is a bit unusual. It's from a World of Warcraft player banned for using a bot who is desperate enough to return to Azeroth that he's offering $1,000.00 to any account administrator who can reverse his ban. Here's the plight he describes: "I wasn't a gold farmer or seller, never bought gold. I just botted archaeology because it's a boring profession." Thanks Buzzblog.

On Sale

Week three of the 5th Anniversary Sale on GamersGate offers another huge selection of games up to 75% off. The IGN PC Store is now online, which could be considered a puzzling move, since IGN Entertainment is also the owner/operator of Direct2Drive.

  • ArcaniA – Gothic 4 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on IGN PC Store.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Gothic Complete Pack on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gothic on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gothic II: Gold Edition on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gothic 3 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods Enhanced Edition on Steam. Save 75%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Duck Hunt 3D Trailer. Thanks Ant.

Portal 2 Panels Trailer

A new Portal 2 trailer offers a humorous promo from Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson (actor J.K. Simmons) who introduces the panels ("the planks of tomorrow") from the upcoming first-person puzzle sequel. This is the first in a series of four "investment opportunity" trailers from the game. Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Crysis 2

As Crytek tweets, today is the launch day in North America for Crysis 2, their CryENGINE 3-powered first-person shooter sequel. To celebrate, they've released a Crysis 2 launch trailer featuring a rendition of New York, New York by Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. aka B.o.B. For those interested in sampling the game, a multiplayer Crysis 2 demo was released at the beginning of this month. The trailer is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness

Vale announces that today's new Steam update adds Skype's SILK audio codec for voice communication, offering what they call a "significant" improvement in sound quality over Steam's previous voice technology, at the expense of a little bandwidth, as SILK's dynamic bitrate ranges from 8-30 kbps versus the fixed rate of 15 kbps for their old codec. Word is: "Steam chat with SILK is now also automatically available for all games that take advantage of the Steamworks Voice API. Valve's own Portal 2, set to release in mid-April, uses this newly updated system to enable voice chat in its cooperative gameplay mode."

Steam Video Recording Nears, Mobile Steam Possible

A post on the Steam Users' Forums recaps a visit to the Valve offices by Political Gamer, who posts revelations of some of Valve's future plans, an audio interview with Robin Walker, and photos of some of what he experienced. He says that Steam will get a video recorder "very soon," Valve is looking to expand Steam onto the iOS/Android platform, and the next class-specific video from Team Fortress 2 will be "Meet the Medic," which he describes as one of the best in the series. Thanks PC Gamer.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River & GFWL

Operation Flashpoint: Red River interview on PC Gamer talks with Sion Lenton about Codemasters' upcoming military shooter sequel. Topics include the absence of competitive multiplayer, the game's co-op support, why they don't currently have mod support plans, how this game is sort of a "reboot," that DLC plans will be announced over the next couple of months, how they are steering away from the series' simulation roots, how multiplayer support will use Games for Windows LIVE, and more. There's also a new "Taking The Hit" trailer from the game, which addresses when is the right time for proud marines to accept that they must retreat. Finally, here's a set of four new screenshots.

Ships Ahoy - The Sims Medieval

EA announces that The Sims Medieval is now in stores for Windows and OS X, offering the chance to go medieval on your little simulated people. Here's word on the game:

Set in the Middle Ages, players will find themselves faced with new ways to play with life like never before. As they build up their kingdom, players create Hero Sims in a range of professions including knight, bard, wizard, priest, blacksmith and spy. Playing each Hero Sim is different, as players control the Sim’s professional life as well as take on the varied adventures of the quests. Other new gameplay elements include diplomacy with neighboring territories, and of course medieval punishments.

The gameplay is framed by quests– each quest presents a new situation and a fresh opportunity to pick which Hero Sims to control during that adventure. After choosing a quest, players will pick their approach for solving it and choose which Hero Sim will lead the quest. For example, in the quest The Witch is Back, players could choose to have their monarch marry the witch who is visiting the kingdom. If they want to kill the witch, they would choose the wizard, spy or knight. And if they just want to debilitate the witch, they would choose to play a priest, physician, or wizard. With dozens of quests and with multiple approaches for completing them, players will find new ways to tell their favorite medieval legends and make them their own.

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Free Offer

The Telltale Games Blog offers the full season of Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse for free to those who sign up for Netflix on this page. They say you will receive the game when you begin your 30-day Netflix trial, which is also free. Here's the full-sized small print: "This is a limited time offer; offer ends April 4, 2011. Offer applies only to new Netflix subscribers. Sorry, offer open to U.S. and Canada residents only; offer only for PC/Mac versions of the game."

PureSim Baseball 4 and Demo Released

Wolverine Studios now offers online sales of PureSim Baseball 4, the latest version of their baseball simulation. In addition to the full game, they also have a PS4-Lite edition, a free version of the game that only includes the PureSim Challenge mode with fewer options. Here's word:

Wolverine Studios, a leader in sports simulation PC gaming, is proud to announce the release of PureSim Baseball 4. Developer Shaun Sullivan has taken his critically acclaimed baseball game to new heights this season with over 230 new features and tweaks making PureSim Baseball 4 the most realistic and accurate simulation of both historical and present day baseball on the market today. PureSim 4 allows players to replay any season in history right up to and including playing out the 2011 season. No other baseball game can match the statistical accuracy or amazing historical features such as “Tru-Life Transactions Mode” which allows you to play seasons from 1920-2010 with transactions happening exactly as they occurred in that season! And best of all you don’t need to purchase a single season disk – every season is included with the full version of the game and an extensive online and desktop manual makes learning the game a breeze for anyone new to the franchise.

Op Ed

IndustryGamers - EA in 'Best Position,' Activision Has 'Challenging' Road Ahead.
"I think [the traditional games] industry is up for pretty significant changes. The companies that are not doing a good job of managing the transition will find themselves in a really difficult place. I think of all of the companies, Electronic Arts is doing the best job of managing the transition and I think other incumbents like Take Two/Rockstar, or Activision, or THQ, are doing a much, much worse job," Young noted.

Bitmob - Game journalists are not progressive in how they cover social gaming.
Let me ask you a few questions: When have you seen a mobile- or social-network game on the cover of a major game magazine? How many reviews or previews of said games do these magazines you read include? Lastly, how many articles have you read positing over the impact social-network and mobile games may have on the industry?

I would bet good money that the last question was the easiest to answer because it seems like every month in every issue of every game magazine there is the familiar "will mobile and social games kill the industry?" piece. It had been the subject of numerous sessions at gaming and developer conferences, and it appears on almost every gaming website with the regularity of the sun rising in the morning.

Doombreed - The death of the PC gaming scene by the Xbox 720 & PS4 generation.
Let me be clear. The PC is not dead. If you read that into this article then shame on you. You cannot replace the experience one receives on a personal computer with a console, yet. What you can arguably do is provide a better gaming experience. If the consoles continue on with their UI improvements, feature enhancements, content delivery systems, exclusive releases, massive generational hardware improvements, and maybe even incorporate a few of the features PC gamers keep holding onto for dear life… then I find myself in the position of questioning my PC gaming addiction when the console will likely provide even more at a smaller price.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

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