Ubisoft Hoists Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

assassins creed 4 black flag

Avast, landlubber! After a pre-order poster for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag leaked earlier this week, Ubisoft went ahead and confirmed that the game and its pirate setting are real and there will be an official reveal on Monday, March 4. The game has been announced for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and WiiU, but you know this is coming to the PS4 and the Xbox successor as well.

There are no firm details about the game other than that it will be a pirate-themed game based on the open sea and will be set in a new time period as well as feature a different protagonist. Based on the box-art, which I used for the image, the time period won’t be radically different from the Revolutionary America setting from Assassin’s Creed 3.

The naval battles were my favorite part of the previous game, so I’m glad Ubisoft is running with the one new addition to the series that worked well. I’ve made my dislike of AC3 well known, but I can’t help but be a little excited for Black Flag. A pirate that follows the creed would make for an excellent protagonist indeed, and hopefully a departure from the more or less morally-upright main characters of games past.

What do you guys think about this announcement? Are you excited for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? Would you rather this game sank to Davy Jones’ Locker? Will the game use the term “poop deck” with a straight face?

Source – IGN

Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines

aliens colonial marines review

Games with a twisted lineage seems to be Gearbox’s forte. After resurrecting the poorly received Duke Nukem Forever, the studio turned its sights back on Aliens: Colonial Marines, which had been continually delayed since its announcement six years ago.

With rumors of multiple studios involved and pre-release demos that couldn’t possibly represent the real game, is Aliens: Colonial Marines the “true sequel” we were promised, or is it worse than Aliens vs Predator: Requiem?

Editor’s note: Images contained within this review do not accurately represent Aliens: Colonial Marine’s actual graphical style. Look to our forthcoming video review to see what A:CM looks like in action. Continue reading Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines

All Future EA Titles To Have Microtransactions

DS 3 Bench

It’s Stop The Presses Thursday!

The announcement that Dead Space 3 has a microtransaction option was merely the opening salvo in what appears to be an all-out assault on your wallet by EA. The publishing giant revealed today, via Develop, that they plan to make microtransactions a major part of their strategy by including them in all future releases, at least for the foreseeable future. But let’s face it, much like an unwanted house guest, once these things get in, they are never going to go away.

CFO Blake Jorgensen, speaking at Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, said:

“We’re building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be, and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.”

Continue reading All Future EA Titles To Have Microtransactions

This Week’s Videos: Video Game Locations and Watch Dogs

Hola, Sushians. For Did You See This Wednesday, I bring great gaming gifts, like a spice trader who’s wandered across the internet’s vast desert on camelback.

OK actually, I just found some cool stuff I thought you guys might like to see. We’ve got two videos here. The first is an original piece by Tim Hijikema, who, if you’ll remember, made the excellent Video Game Planets piece almost a year ago.

In his new video, Video Game Locations, Tim re-creates classic video game locales, from Hyrule to Vice City. Set to excellent music, this thing is a crazy nostalgia tour. Can you name them all?

Continue reading This Week’s Videos: Video Game Locations and Watch Dogs

Steam Box Build: The Twin Birds

Twin Birds

Before we start I wanted to note that all of the pictures in this article are linked to higher resolution versions.

Let’s Begin

As some of you may know, a few weeks ago I set out on a journey. My journey wasn’t very different from that of Frodo and Samwise when they set out from the Shire to take The One Ring to Mordor, and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom. But, instead of Sam I had Jeff, and instead of throwing a ring into some lava, I was researching, pricing out and building new gaming PCs. This marks the first new PC I’ve built for myself since 2007 when I put together what we lovingly refer to as the “Leet World PC.” The itch to build a new machine began when Steam released Big Picture Mode, and I started to really love the idea of having a 10-foot experience for my PC games.

The goals I had for this build:

  1. Try to stay close to a $600 price point.
  2. Find a smaller, good looking-case and quiet components since it will be in the living room.
  3. Have playable frame rates in most games at 1080p with everything maxed.

Alright, on the important stuff…

Specs

PART DESCRIPTION PRICE
CPU Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz $119.99
Motherboard ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX $89.99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 $40.98
Storage Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5″ 7200RPM $59.99
Video Card HIS IceQ Turbo Radeon HD 7850 2GB $189.99
Case BitFenix Prodigy Mini ITX Tower $79.99
Power Supply Antec NEO ECO 620C $49.99
TOTAL $630.92[1]

 

Choices

parts

Some of you might say, “Nick, you could’ve spent less money than that, and get basically the same performance if you had done ‘X’ thing.” And, you wouldn’t be wrong in that statement, but what you are forgetting is that I don’t care what you have to say. Yes, it’s true that if I would’ve gone with a different case (ATX/Mini ATX) I wouldn’t have been locked into paying more for a Mini ITX board, but the smooth lines and sexy curves of the BitFenix[2] case were too much to pass up. Another limiting factor with Mini ITX was the lack of AMD motherboards available, so I chose to go Intel.

mobo

Since the Prodigy case has two USB 3.0 ports on the side, I wanted to find a board that had USB 3.0 headers, and the ASRock B75M-ITX fit the bill. Not only that, but it has two more USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port on the back, so you can connect all the things. After deciding on the board, I needed a CPU. Since this was meant to be just a gaming machine, I felt that I could skimp here, and didn’t go for the PC-builder’s darling, the Intel i5. Instead, I opted for the i5’s little brother, the i3-3220, and it’s a great little dual-core hyper-threaded chip that won’t bottleneck the GPU, which is the most important part. I originally was going to only get 4GB of RAM since most games can’t address more than that, but it was almost the same price to go for 8GB, so I thought I’d future-proof the box a little bit.

gpu

The crown jewel of this build is the GPU. Yes, it’s not the best graphics card ever, but for under $200, you can’t do much better. ATI’s Radeon HD 7850 is already a pretty fast card, but HIS has over-clocked their IceQ Turbo to 1.0GHz[3]. I also opted for 2GB of Video RAM, up from the standard 1GB, to help with anti-aliasing and texture detail at higher resolutions. Another nice thing about the HIS Ice Turbo is that it’s quiet… Really quiet. When I fired the machine up for the first time, I didn’t realize that it was on for a second. To go along with this beefy GPU, I picked up a 620 watt Antec PSU. Antec is one of the best names in power supplies, and this little guy delivers. It has more than enough connectors for HDD/GPU/fans, and is almost silent while running.

And now back to the good part…

Pictures

prep
As any gamer knows, first, we gather our materials.
tools
A good builder needs their tools.
build
By the middle of the build I had taken over our entire dining room table.
power
Those boards don’t work on water! Unless you’ve got power!
removed
I had to remove both the secondary Hard Drive Cage and the DVD Drive Bay…
beast
…to fit this beast.
ass
Dat ass.
done
Aaaaaand we’re done!
black
Only to have to do it all again, in black.

Obligatory benchmark

bench

Alternates

If you are looking to build something similar, but maybe want to go a cheaper route, here are some options. First, you could build basically the same computer but with a cheaper case and motherboard. Also, if you are going to be running your games at 720p, something like a Radeon HD 7770 or NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 650 would suit your needs fine. One interesting solution, if you like the case or the ITX form factor, is to go AMD. Yes, earlier I said there was a lack of AMD boards for Mini ITX, but the one or two that there are, are FM2 socket. The FM2 socket is for AMD’s Trinity, formerly Vision, APUs which are a combo CPU/GPU on the same chip. I know what you are saying, “But Nick, integrated graphics suck,” and you used to be correct. The Trinity APU is the first solution that is actually a viable integrated graphics solution for gaming. I’ve seen playable frame rates from games like Sleeping Dogs at 720p using an AMD A10-5800K. This would obviously save you a lot, because you won’t have to buy a separate GPU, and if you want, in the future you can Crossfire it with a matching ATI GPU for more performance.

To Wrap it Up

After the blood[4], sweat and tears I ended up with a pretty sweet little machine. She is quieter than the XBox 360 it sits next to, prettier than the PS3 on the other side, and more powerful than either. I loaded up a couple Steam games, and they look gorgeous at 1080p on the 50″ plasma. But, as happy as I am with the little black box, the dream of being able to just fire up your PC and start playing is not quite there yet. Consoles are still hands down more user-friendly. I had issues with Big Picture not auto loading, stability in games and not being able to dismiss alerts without a keyboard and mouse. Overall, I’m incredibly happy with the purchase, and wouldn’t change a thing, but this whole experience has really showed that unfortunately, Big Picture is not ready for prime time quite yet.


 

1. These are the prices I paid at the time. The cost of parts can fluctuate wildly, so your mileage may vary.
2. The BitFenix name and logo inspired the names of the PCs: Jean-Grey (White) and Dark-Phoenix (Black).
3. ATI Radeon HD 7850s are factory clocked to 860MHz.
4. I have cut myself at some point during every build I’ve ever done, and this was no exception.

Pixel Count: How Do You Like Your Shooter Campaigns?

Welcome back to “Pixel Count Tuesday”!

Having just wrapped up Crysis 3, I’ve been thinking about the way shooters are leaning these days in terms of how their campaigns are structured. Very few games walk the line the that Crysis 3 does by having its levels be a blend of openness and linearity; most of the time, games are just corridor shooters like Call of Duty or open-world type affairs like Far Cry 3.

While it does have a lot to do with the mechanics (Call of Duty would never work as a semi-open shooter in its current form), it also boils down to personal taste. Some people can’t stand linear games, while other get turned off by games that are too broad. What about you guys? What kind of shooter floats your boat?

What kind of shooter campaign do you prefer?

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To Guide or Not to Guide in Ni No Kuni

Ni No Kuni

I’ve been bit with a bit of a completionist bug lately. I mainly blame Ni No Kuni and its charming world, which has totally sucked me in, much like the game’s main character Oliver, as he looks for a way to save his mother with the help of his fairy friend, Mr. Drippy.

While I’m not normally the kind of guy that I used to be with RPGs — namely, the guy that does every possible sidequest before moving onto the story — Ni No Kuni is making me feel like a kid again, and I don’t mind plumbing the world’s depths for bounties, errands, and familiars. But it is causing me to run into an issue: to guide or not to guide? Continue reading To Guide or Not to Guide in Ni No Kuni

Crysis 3 Single-Player Kicks off the Year of the Bow

crysis 3 single-player

It’s “What We’re Playing Monday”! Maximum video games!

I already talked a little bit about Crysis 3’s multiplayer during the beta, and for the full release my impressions are pretty much the same. Crytek fixed the aim-down-sight issue, but I still just can’t manage to get a good round in.

The single-player of Crysis 3, on the other hand, I’ve been enjoying quite a bit. Set twenty years after the events of Crysis 2, you journey back to a ruined New York as the nano-suited entity known as “Prophet”. A lot is made of what has become of your humanity during the twenty years you’ve been in the nano-suit and whether or not you’re human anymore. Prophet himself isn’t sure, either, constantly stating that he’s sacrificed a lot to battle the alien Ceph.

Shortly after the opening segments in which returning character Psycho busts you out of a CELL containment unit, you’re given Crysis 3’s new weapon, the one that all the pre-release materials made a big deal of: the Predator bow. While being able to stay cloaked even after shooting off an arrow is pretty cool, the bow unfortunately unbalances Crysis 3 a little too much in favor of the player. Continue reading Crysis 3 Single-Player Kicks off the Year of the Bow

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 62: All About the PlayStation 4

playstation 4

There was one topic of conversation that dominated this episode of The GamerSushi Show, and you can probably guess what that is. Sony’s reveal of the PlayStation 4 has the gaming world turned on its head and a three man team consisting of myself, Jeff and Nick dissect the press conference.

Seeing as how the reveal was so dominating, we don’t talk about much else during the show, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on the PlayStation 4! Listen, rate, and come at us, bros!

0:00 – 2:14 Intro
2:15 – 1:08:38 PlayStation 4

Team Fortress 2 Tonight!

Team Fortress 2

Last week, we posted about our GamerSushi Community Night in Team Fortress 2. After getting some feedback, we decided to host the game tonight, at 10 PM CST! Give us a roll call in the comments, and let us know if you’ll be there or not. And if you’re late, no worries, you can drop by whenever.

So, who’s joining? And feel free to leave suggestions on what we should play for our next community night! Go!

Update: Server is: 173.62.11.99:27015, we’re playing now!

GamerSushi Asks: Where Do You Buy Your Games?

Video game store

There are so many outlets to get games these days. Amazon, digital and all the various retail stores that are still left standing. Although the number of places to purchase games is shrinking, there are still plenty of options, all with different sales, bonuses, trade-in credits and promotions to lure your hard earned dollars to their specific business. So rather than wonder any longer, I thought I would ask you guys: where do you buy your games?

It’s a simple question, but an important one. And it can vary, depending on what game you are buying and what platform. If buying on the PC, we all will likely say Steam, but what console games and other times when physical media is the only way to go? Personally, I am all about Amazon. Their trade-in deals are better than GameStop’s and their prices are usually more inexpensive as well. Not to mention that supply is rarely an issue. If I go into GameStop or Best Buy, they are going to have Call of Duty, but what if I am looking for something a tad more obscure? Amazon fixes that issue for me. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Where Do You Buy Your Games?

Sony Reveals the PlayStation 4

playstation 4 controller

It’s Stop the Presses Thursday, and boy do we have something for you!

Last night at a press event in Manhattan, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4, officially ushering in the next generation of consoles. The press conference showcased the system’s architecture, which is designed to be simple in response to the criticisms of the PlayStation 3 being too complex to develop on, the controller, the new social aspect of the PS4, and of course, the games.

The PlayStation 4 is running on an x86-64 8-core CPU, just like our wise Bearded One hypothesized two weeks ago during the podcast. It has a next-gen Radeon GPU along with 8gb of GDDR5 RAM and all of the other bells and whistles you’d expect: Blu-ray, an internal hard-drive of an unspecified size, USB 3.0, all that kind of stuff.

The leaked controller from a few weeks back turned out to be completely legitimate. As you can see in the image above, it features a touchscreen similar to the one of the back of PS Vita along with a giant blue bar that performs a Move-type function. The controller also has upgraded Sixaxis and rumble and, thankfully, the shoulder buttons and the analog sticks have been modified. It now has a headphone jack and the all-important, brand spanking new Share button. Continue reading Sony Reveals the PlayStation 4

Review: Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3 Review

When Dead Space 3 was first announced at E3 last year, it was met with a chorus of skepticism. With the addition of co-op and a revamped combat system, this formerly slow-paced horror game looked more like a Gears of War knock-off. Although Visceral games has said repeatedly that Dead Space 3 will still adhere to the series’ roots, developers are known to embellish a little.

The final act of a trilogy carries a lot of expectations, especially when the people making them add a bunch of new features and try to rework tried and true conventions. How does Dead Space 3 fare under the microscope? Continue reading Review: Dead Space 3

Cage Fight: Grow Up, Gamers

Beyond: Two Souls

Time for Did You See This Wednesday!

Never one to stray from a controversial comment, David Cage, creator of Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls for the PS3, caused quite a stir at the DICE summit with some of his remarks regarding the direction he feels the game industry needs to go if it wants to evolve as an art form. Calling it a “Peter Pan-complex”, Cage pointed out that the vast majority of games are made for teens and children and the industry should strive to tackle more mature themes and not just a mature shooter, but expand mechanics beyond jumping, punching and shooting. Basically: maturity doesn’t equal violence.

Cage sat down with Chris Kohler of Wired.com for an extensive follow-up interview. The interview is worth reading Getting to the crux of the matter, Kohler asks Cage what are the consequences of the game industry not growing up and his answer is surprising in its reasonableness: Continue reading Cage Fight: Grow Up, Gamers

Telltale Games: The Perfect Host for Aliens

Aliens

The Alien franchise is one of those properties that seems like a natural fit for video games. Between a scary, nigh-unstoppable semi-parasitic freak from outer space and ladies (and sometimes dudes) toting big guns in an attempt to eradicate them, you think they’d take to each other like a facehugger and a mushy, warm host body. The recent release of the critically panned Aliens: Colonial Marines by Gearbox and Friends is just another entry into a relatively disappointing list of attempts to bring a worthwhile Aliens game to life.

While part of the problem is obviously due to the choices that publishers and developers have made with Aliens — seriously, the pot luck development of Colonial Marines sounds like a steaming pile of the hottest mess — I’m starting to wonder if part of the problem is also the interpretation of the series as an FPS. Sure, it makes sense — add lots of aliens, give the player big guns, and throw in some jump scares. But what will that accomplish that hasn’t already been done arguably better before by other developers? Continue reading Telltale Games: The Perfect Host for Aliens

Pixel Count: How Do You Prefer Your Hype?

The reveal of Bungie’s newest property, Destiny, has had me thinking this week about the nature of hype in the video game realm. With everything from years-out announcements to games that get stuck in an endless development cycle, games that get dropped on us just a few months before release and more, we’ve seen the whole gamut of hype. Sometimes it is a bit much for our poor hearts, methinks.

But while I’m excited about the little snippets that Bungie showed off, I can’t help but feel like maybe the announcement had been just a tad overhyped in the week prior. Bungie explained a little of what Destiny is, but there’s still so much we don’t know, and for a game that seems built around its high concept that we may or may not have seen before, it seems like maybe that information is necessary. In the end, it comes down to strategy, and how each developer feels that they can ultimately sell more copies.

All that to ask you guys today’s poll question. How do you prefer your video game hype? Go!

How do you prefer your hype?

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Ni No Kuni and the Lost Art of Cut Scenes

Ni No Kuni

Over the weekend, I finally jumped into the world of Ni No Kuni, Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s collaborative take on JRPGs. As has been reported from pretty much the whole world, the game is charming as all hell, from the story down to the monster design. With a great big world to explore and tons of sidequests, the experience is certainly reminiscent of the RPGs I used to play during my summers off of school.

But one of the more surprising reasons for my nostalgia happens to be the game’s cut scenes. Back in the day, one of my favorite parts of a new game was getting to a CG cut scene. These fully animated sequences served as a bit of a reward after a particularly harrowing part of the game, and always kept me on the edge of my seat. The fact that they looked so much better than the game made it all the more rewarding. Continue reading Ni No Kuni and the Lost Art of Cut Scenes

It’s Game Over, Man, For Aliens: Colonial Marines

aliens colonial marines

It’s “What We’re Playing Monday!” By now you’ve probably read all about the absolute cluster-eff that is Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox’s six-years in the making supposed love letter to the Aliens franchise. What it is when its at home is actually a bland, buggy mess, more akin a budget shooter from earlier in the generation with xenomorphs tossed in.

Picking up sometime after the events of Aliens, Colonial Marines scatters any notion of canon to the wind, with several characters literally hand-waving away plot points in an attempt to get you back to killing xenos without much thought. Characters who are dead come back for no reason, and the mere presence of the Sulaco above LV-426 is enough to get even the most casual Aliens fan’s blood boiling. Continue reading It’s Game Over, Man, For Aliens: Colonial Marines

Bungie Reveals Project Destiny

After a couple of years of silence, Bungie has spilled the beans on their ambitious, imaginative project, Destiny. In one of their famous ViDocs, the house that built Halo unveiled its new shared-world shooter. While it’s hard to know what it is exactly at this point, the implication seems to be a persistent online sandbox world, where the players have an affect on the world and the story. It sounds like an MMO, but also with a few elements such as DayZ.

Bungie plans to unfold this universe over the course of 10 years. And what a universe to play in. I could go on and on about the art style, which reminds me of both Halo and Mass Effect, but with a touch of ruin seen from something like Enslaved. While most of what we see in the video is concept art, we do get a couple of bits of gameplay towards the end. You should really just watch it for yourself.

What do you guys think of Destiny, upon its first reveal? I have to admit, it’s a bit bittersweet to see the game’s scope and style, knowing that I had a chance to be at Bungie for all of this. I’m curious to see what else they have in store for us, and what other things they’ll release about the game in the coming months.

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 61: Love Cast

the gamersushi show

Welcome back to The GamerSushi Show, where a three-man team consisting of Eddy, Anthony and Jeff lull you in with their sultry voices as they talk various bits of gaming news and other sexy stuff.

Since this cast was recorded on Valentine’s Day, there’s kind of a running joke throughout. I’ll leave it up to you to find out what it is, though. In terms of actual topics, the trio talked 9GN, some gaming news including the new Batman game and Destiny, what would happen if Telltale tackled the Aliens franchise, the PS4 controller, and polished it off with a nice discussion about what they love about gaming. I wish I had been able to get in on that last topic, because it’s a really good one.

Alright all you gamers out there, you know how this goes. Listen and rate, and let us know what you love about gaming!

0:00 – 3:50 Intro
3:51 – 8:15 Anthony’s 9GN article
8:16 – 9:40 Site updates and streaming
9:41 – 17:45 Gaming news round up
17:36 – 20:59 Could Telltale tackle Aliens
21:00 – 26:44 PS4 touchscreen controller
26:45 – 56:09 Things We Love About Gaming
56:10 – 1:01:15 Outro