Monday, March 26, 2012

Angry Birds Space Is Downloaded 10M Times

The highly anticipated Angry Birds Space was released by Rovio on Thursday, March 22 and a mere three days after its release the game developer announced that the space-themed version of the incredibly popular Angry Birds series has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

On Monday, March 26 Rovio made this announcement on its Twitter feed. Unfortunately, they didn’t say anything about how this release compares to the releases of the other Angry Birds games. However, according to reports, the last Angry Birds release, Angry Birds Rio, took ten days to hit ten million downloads.

The game was released for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Android devices, Macs and PCs. As of now, there is not a version of the game for Windows Phone, but according to Rovio CEO Mikael Hed, there will be a version available sometime in the near future.

Before the game’s release, Rovio worked hard on promoting Angry Birds Space. According to some, it might be the most expensive promotional campaign ever used for a mobile game, but all of the promoting really seemed to work because just a few hours after Angry Birds Space was released, it was at the very top of Apple’s App Store charts in close to 30 different countries.

The game has sixty levels, hidden bonuses and secret levels. There are also some important changes to the game, including gravity, which allows “players to use nearby planets to perform trick shots on unsuspecting pigs.”

iPhone users are able to purchase Angry Birds Space from the App Store for $0.99, iPad users can find an HD version there for $2.99, and the Android Marketplace offers a free version and a $0.99 version for mobile devices and a special Android tablet version for $2.99. The Amazon Appstore is also offering three versions of the game, a free, ad-supported version, a $0.99 paid version and a $2.99 Kindle Fire version. Of course, there is also a version of the game available for PCs and Macs for $4.99.

Sources: PCMag - Angry Birds Space Hits 10M Downloads in Three Days and Marshable Entertainment - 'Angry Birds Space' Downloaded 10M Times in 3 Days

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

How to Turn the Background Music Off On Your PS Vita

Do you own PlayStation’s new handheld console the PS Vita? Are you incredibly annoyed with the background music blasting out of its speakers? It is kind of ridiculous how loud the device is. According to PCMag, it's “mind-numbing noise at its worst and hideous elevator music at its best.”

However, there is a way to turn off the incredibly loud music. If it's driving you insane…literally, here’s what you should do:

1. Turn on the PS Vita.
2. Tap Settings and then Start.
3. Scroll down to Sound & Display and tap it.
4. Uncheck System Music and exit the Settings menu.

Sony launched the PlayStation Vita on February 22 in North America. With the device the company was able to bring “console-quality gaming” to a portable device.

As of February 26, Sony announced that 1.2 million units had been sold. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that the device had been available in Japan for over a month at that point. Still, those sales numbers are great.

The device also has a fantastic list of games available for users to play including BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend, FIFA Soccer 12, Gravity Rush, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Rayman Origins, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048.

If you're looking for a handheld device, the PS Vita should definitely be a device that you consider.

Sources: PCMag - How To Turn Off The PS Vita's Horrible Background Music, PCMag - The 10 Best PS Vita Games and Engadget - Sony updates PS Vita sales figures: 'over 1.2 million units worldwide', 2 million in software

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 Multiplayer and Dark Souls on PC

Two stories of particular interest (for me at least) have begun circulating the internet over the past few days involving two very popular game series: Assassin's Creed and Dark Souls. Granted, Dark Souls isn't a series but a sequel to the extremely popular, extremely difficult Demons Souls game for the PS3, but I digress.

The first announcement is in regards to Assassin's Creed 3. Everybody knew that a new Assassin's Creed game was slated for release in the Fall of 2012, though nobody knew if it was actually Assassin's Creed 3 or yet another chapter in the Ezio Auditore sub-series which began in Assassin's Creed 2, continued in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and (we now know) concluded in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Thankfully, the new game is, in fact, Assassin's Creed 3 (even though it is technically the 5th game in the series).

There were a lot of rumors recently regarding Assassin's Creed 3 which led to leaked box art images as well as screenshots from an issue of GameInformer magazine. Ubisoft has confirmed that all those were real and even released a lot of Assassin's Creed 3 details, as well as a trailer, confirming that the game would take place on the American frontier during the Revolutionary War. However, one of the biggest additions to the Assassin's Creed franchise, multiplayer (which started in Brotherhood), wasn't talked about, until now.

According to an update on the Twitter and Linkedin accounts of designer Tim Browne, Browne has recently been given the job of Lead Game Design on Assassin's Creed 3's multiplayer. In addition to that, Browne specifically added that he will be working with Ubisoft Annecy. Ubisoft Annecy is the same team behind the multiplayer features of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood as well as Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and the team which also assisted on the multiplayer in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Browne has worked as a designer for Codemasters for games like Dragon Rising and Operation Flashpoint: Red River.

Unfortunately, little is known about the multiplayer of Assassin's Creed 3 aside from it being a confirmed feature in the game. A product listing for the game on listed the game as having 2-4 player co-op as well as 2-8 player online multiplayer. That listing has since been taken down and no further details have been revealed.

The second bit of gaming goodness comes in the form of a possible PC version of Dark Souls. In case you missed it, Dark Souls is the highly popular sequel to the PS3 game Demons Souls and is literally the hardest game ever created, ever. This game will make you scream things at your television that you were previously unaware you were capable of screaming, especially when you try so hard to get past a certain part, taking as little damage as possible and saving all your consumables for that unimaginable boss battle ahead only for some random player in Japan 80x as powerful as you to invade your game and kill you in one hit...

All bitterness aside, a PC version of the game is coming, despite no official statement. "But how can you think the rumor to be true?" you might ask? Well, an early pic of next month's issue of PC Powerplay magazine shows the back cover of the issue with the words "YOU DIED" in the exact same style, font and color of the text that appears when, well, you die in Dark Souls.

If that isn't enough to convince you, a newly launched announcement on the game's Facebook page is also teasing a reveal about the game coming soon, or after enough people "Like" the Facebook page. In addition to that, all this comes after Namco Bandai, the creators of the game, cryptically commented on a Dark Souls PC release petition back in January. The game is rumored to be coming to the PC with added features that will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3 owners as DLC later, similar to what The Witcher 2 is doing on consoles.

Assassin's Creed 3 multiplayer and Dark Souls on the PC? Sounds like a pretty good year for gaming indeed.

Source: IGN - Assassin's Creed III Multiplayer Dev Revealed
G4TV - Dark Souls PC Release Is Coming, Probably is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ubisoft Releases Assassin's Creed III Details

Over the past few weeks, Ubisoft has released plenty of details concerning what will be featured in Assassin’s Creed III. The setting, the box art, some screenshots, the trailer and lots of other tidbits about the game have all been released.

Assassin’s Creed III will be set between the times of 1753 and 1783. Players will be able to explore the frontier that is between New York and Boston and stop in places like Lexington, Concord and Indian villages. The famous historical figures featured in the game will include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Lee.

“You’re going to see cities that you’ve probably visited. This idea that it’s your history is very powerful…It’s not just going to a historical building now; it’s going to be a historical event…You will see the great fire of New York. You will visit Valley Forge as a location that is currently occupied by Washington’s forces. You will visit these places in the moment that they were important, and hopefully, experience the reason why we know where they are today. That’s the goal.”

The new assassin featured in the latest installment of the game is named Connor. His father is English and his mother is Native American. He has been raised with the Mohawk tribe. The Creative Director for the game Alex Hutchinson said that Connor is a “vision of quiet heroism and rugged pioneer skill.” He went on to say, “We want to explore this notion of duality…He’s of neither culture. If we’re going to talk about the American Revolution, we didn’t want you playing Mel Gibson from The Patriot, and we didn’t want you in a military uniform. The AC universe is one step back from all that.”

As Connor, players will be able to hunt animals and sell pelts in order to make money and survive. They will also have the ability to fast travel, which is a very good thing since the map is 1.5 times larger than the map that was featured in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Like previous Assassin’s Creed games, the notoriety system and the ability to earn money and property will be back.

The entire Assassin’s Creed franchise follows the story of Desmond Miles, a bartender in the year 2012, who comes from a long line of assassins. Desmond is captured by Abstergo Industries (the modern-day Knights Templar), which is searching for the location of several important artifacts. Desmond is forced to use a device called the Animus, which allows him to re-live the memories of his family members that came before him. In Assassin’s Creed III, Desmond will no longer be in a coma and will communicate with Connor via the Animus.

Assassin's Creed III will be released on October 30 and will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

If you are interested in seeing and learning more about the game, check out the trailer below:

Sources: IGN - Assassin's Creed III Details Revealed, PCMag - Ubisoft Reveals Trailer for Assassin's Creed III and Game Rant - ‘Assassin’s Creed 3′ Story & Character Spoilers

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Mass Effect 3 Has Arrived! (with a few bugs)

It has happened. The time has finally come. Mass Effect 3 has arrived. That's right, the extremely anticipated final chapter in the Mass Effect series has hit store shelves and fans of the game (myself included) have been flocking to midnight releases all over the world to be some of the first players to unlock their adventure and try to take Earth back from the dreaded Reaper invasion.

The Mass Effect series has added some incredibly fantastic innovations to gaming as a whole with a gripping story, characters that make you care about them and choices that actually have repercussions. If you don't know already, every choice you made in the original Mass Effect carried over into Mass Effect 2. If you decided to sacrifice one character for another, be nice to this person, mean to that person, go this route on a mission as opposed to the other, whatever it was, the consequences of those actions, good or bad, popped up in Mass Effect 2.

Likewise, everything you did in Mass Effect 2 carries over to Mass Effect 3, including what you did in the first game. Not more than 5 minutes into the game last night and I was already being hounded about things I did in the first game. It's innovations like these that really change the way you play a game. However, choices aren't the only things that carry over. Mass Effect allows you to create a truly unique and customized character. You choose the name, background, class and physical features and that is your Commander Shepard. The best part was that you can take that customized character, looks and all, right out of Mass Effect 1 and into Mass Effect 2 via your save files.

The same thing is true for Mass Effect 3, allowing you to take the single character you first started off with in the very first game all the way to the end, truly making the story and the endgame yours. However, this is where the first bits of bugs have started to show themselves in Mass Effect 3. Reports are coming from all over that Mass Effect 3's character import feature is requiring players to completely rebuild their character's face. The problem only seems to be surfacing with players that are using the same character they started in Mass Effect 1. If you made a character in the first game and played through the second without changing anything, then Mass Effect 3 will restore your appearance to the default settings. If you modified your character at all in Mass Effect 2, then you seem to be unaffected.

Mass Effect Producer Michael Gamble confirmed the issue via Twitter though nothing has been issued in the form of a fix as of yet. That isn't the only issue plaguing gamers in Mass Effect 3. Another issue that surfaced during launch was that gamers who tried to import their saves via the Xbox 360's cloud storage were unable to do so. EA has already confirmed that Mass Effect 3 does not accept Mass Effect 2 saves from the cloud but it also seems that local save files moved across consoles via the cloud are also unusable.

In order to get your cloud save to work, gamers must transfer the file back to the original hard drive and manually transfer it over to their new console with a USB drive or a transfer cable. EA released a statement about the issue saying that the company understands "this may be a great setback to those impacted who have been following the Mass Effect franchise over the years. We thank you for your patience."

However, these minor setbacks haven't stopped reviewers from giving the game top marks in almost every category. Gaming site IGN has given Mass Effect 3 a 9.5 out of 10, calling the game "Amazing" and adding compliments like "amazing story, solid combat, great characters and high replay value." G4's Adam Sessler gave the game the coveted 5 out of 5 score, noting pros to the game as "This is how you end a trilogy. Wide diversity for character options. Combat decidedly richer and challenging" with the only con given being "Small side quests can be teases."

A segment from Sessler's review reads:

"Here is one of Mass Effect 3's greatest tricks; as the final game in the series, it no longer has the lure of your decisions manifesting themselves in unknown ways in successive games and yet the decisions you make feel the most significant, perhaps because they are reflections of your own ethics."

Follow the links if you want IGN's Review of Mass Effect 3 or G4's Review of Mass Effect 3. I haven't played it enough to give a full review myself but what I have played so far has been gripping, emotional and action-packed, leaving me starving for more. Capping off a trilogy is one of the hardest things to do in any form of entertainment and Mass Effect has done so beautifully and, seemingly, effortlessly.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

BioShock Infinite Release Date Announced

On Thursday, March 1 2K Games announced the release date of the highly anticipated next installment of the BioShock series. BioShock Infinite will be released in the United States for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on October 16. It will be released internationally on October 19.

BioShock Infinite won more than 75 awards last year at E3. Among those awards was the Game Critics Awards’ Best of Show. The BioShock series is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed gaming series to date. It has sold more than 9 million units across the globe.

"After BioShock, we had a vision for a follow up that dwarfed the original in scope and ambition," said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games, in a statement. "BioShock Infinite has been our sole focus for the last four years, and we can't wait for fans to get their hands on it."

The original BioShock game that started it all was released in 2007. It was then followed by BioShock 2 in 2010. BioShock Infinite takes gamers to Columbia, a floating city in the sky. The city represents a fictional America in 1912. Booker DeWitt, a special agent, and his side-kick Elizabeth battle their way through the game in an attempt to escape Columbia.

In August 2010 2K released the trailer for BioShock Infinite. After the release, Levine offered a few more details about the game.

"In order to explore the floating city of Columbia, we needed an entirely new engine. To bring Elizabeth to life, we had to build brand-new animation and AI systems," he said. "To create wide-ranging indoor and outdoor firefights at 30,000 feet, we had to rethink, rebuild, and expand the BioShock arsenal. The only thing gamers can be certain of is this: the rules of the BioShock universe are about to change."

Sources: Market Watch - 2K Games and Irrational Games Announce Street Date for BioShock(R) Infinite and PCMag - BioShock Infinite Release Date Set for October is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!