Monthly Archives: May 2014

Watch Dogs PS3: has last-gen hardware had its day?

Watch Dogs PS3: has last-gen hardware had its day?

Built from the ground up with the new generation of gaming hardware in mind, it’s easy to forget that Ubisoft Montreal’s new open-world cyber-thriller is actually a cross-generational release, also available for XBox 360 and PlayStation 3. Multi-platform titles are necessarily built with scalability in mind – it’s essential for the PC gaming market – but the question we’re interested in today is if Watch Dogs is a sign that we’re finally at breaking point. Should last-gen hardware be left behind by AAA developers? Or does less-capable hardware still offers a viable alternative?

To get to the heart of the matter, we have the PS3 version to compare with Watch Dogs’ PlayStation 4 release, the technical strengths of which we’ve already covered in detail. The Disrupt engine benefits from the newer Sony console’s processing power to handle the AI and physics elements of a vast Chicago city sandbox – all delivered at 1600×900 and backed by a stable 30fps. Meanwhile, on PS3 it’s fair to say the core mechanics hold together faithfully enough, with all abilities, missions and areas transferring unscathed, but the gloss over the top is significantly pared back and the resulting visuals can be startlingly different at times.

In terms of the base image, PS3 pushes out a native resolution of around 1152×648, reinforced by what appears to be an FXAA solution for edge treatment – the weakest option on PC. But as you can see from our head-to-head video below (and the Watch Dogs PS3 vs PlayStation 4 comparison gallery), this is far from the biggest issue with the videogame’s visual make-up.

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Watch Dogs: stuck in the unfunny valley

Watch Dogs: stuck in the unfunny valley

Like many people – judging by Ubisoft’s declaration of record day-one sales – I have spent the last few days driving around Watch Dogs’ next-gen vision of Chicago, raising and lowering bollards and searching in vain for something to wear that doesn’t make me look like Neo in chunky knit. I’ve had some fun but, as is often the case, I think the things I’ve most enjoyed have been the incidental informations. No, not Aiden Pearce’s “iconic cap”, but things like the billboard signs hacked to show internet memes, or the snatches of stolen SMS traffic thrown up by Aiden’s profiler. “I’m doing vaginas tonight… Oh crap! Fajitas! Fajitas!”

Funnily enough, I stumbled on that autocorrect-inspired gem while browsing Reddit on my phone during one of the videogame’s many soporific cut-scenes. And the very fact that I’m still regularly looking away from blockbuster videogames at moments like these got me wondering: why are the things I find most memorable in open-world videogames often stuffed into the margins?

Watch Dogs isn’t the first AAA videogame where the cut-scenes suggest the characters’ clothes have had more time invested in them than the flaccid dialogue, of course, but this phenomenon of looking away during story bits is something I tend to notice more in open-world videogames, and I think it starts with the fact most of them are so enormous and expensively assembled. As a result, they often think it’s important to play things straight in order to be taken importantly, when in fact the outcome is often that they are not taken importantly at all – or worse, that they fail to hold the player’s attention.

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Watch Dogs Review: Shooting For The Stars, Coming Up Just Shy

Watch Dogs Review: Shooting For The Stars, Coming Up Just Shy
It's massive, epic, and wildly ambitious. It doesn't succeed in everything that it tries, but it DID try, and that has resulted in a captivating experience.

Reading Rainbow Might Come To A Bunch Of New Platforms

Reading Rainbow Might Come To A Bunch Of New Platforms
Actor LeVar Burton wants to bring his Reading Rainbow program to multiple platforms, including the PlayStation and XBox. Make it happen, readers!

700 Excavated E.T. Atari Cartridges Will Go On Sale Soon

700 Excavated E.T. Atari Cartridges Will Go On Sale Soon
You kcurrently all those E.T. cartridges an excavation crew recovered back in April? Well, more than half of them will be available to purchase! You gettin' one?

OBSTACLE COURSE (Garry’s Mod Trouble in Terrorist Town)

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Former SCEA CEO Jack Tretton Joins AI Tech Company

Former SCEA CEO Jack Tretton Joins AI Tech Company

Jack Tretton, former president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, has found a new job on the advisory board of a start-up investigating Artificial Intelligence.

PR Web news Tretton will currently help the company, called Genotaur, with its hopes of licensing new forms of interactive interfaces to partners across a range of fields, including online entertainment and video videogames.

Genotaur’s main focus is on working on new forms of “intelligent interactive interfaces” between humans and computers. Alongside videogames and online entertainment, other areas the company is looking to branch into include robotics, childhood education and even action figures.

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Maleficent finally gets invited to something: Disney Infinity 2.0

Disney’s drag-and-drop sandbox has cordially invited Maleficent to the next shindig in Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition. The announcement ties to this weekend’s opening of Maleficent, a new fairytale film in which a horned Angelina Jolie puts at least one person to sleep.

The villainous mistress that sullied Sleeping Beauty’s christening joins a wide range of Disney characters in Disney Infinity, including that super-heroic bunch from the Marvel universe. And just like The Avengers, Maleficent comes in the form of a physical toy to be placed on a special base, which seemingly teleports her right into the videogame.

Disney Interactive also used a Wednesday night preview of Maleficent in San Francisco to show off Princess Merida of DunBroch, the bold archer from Pixar’s Brave. She’ll join Disney Infinity, having been picked as a favorite in social polls.

Merida’s archery and Maleficent’s magic will both be available in the Toy Box mode of Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition, coming to PlayStation, XBox and Nintendo platforms this fall.

[Image: Disney]

JoystiqMaleficent finally gets invited to something: Disney Infinity 2.0 originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 29 May 2014 03:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drakengard 3 review

Drakengard 3 review

Drakengard 3 is a mess. It’s baggy, inconsistent, repetitive, scrappy, tonally iffy and beset by a litany of technical failings. And yet at the same time, it’s weirdly fascinating; for all its faults, this is a videogame that tries something different – several things, in fact – and comes close to pulling them off. At the very least, it’s flawed in interesting ways, and it will surely find a niche audience that is prepared to defend it to the hilt.

Much of that, of course, could also be said about director Taro Yoko’s Nier, which, with the benefit of hindsight, I rated rather harshly in our 6/10 Nier review. Nier was a tragedy with a viciously cruel streak, but it was also surprisingly warm-hearted, particularly in the working on bond between its protagonists. Drakengard 3, by contrast, plays more like a jet-black comedy and is much colder to the touch.

That’s chiefly down to our protagonist Zero, who is on a single-minded quest to kill her five magical sisters, ostensibly to steal their powers and become the world’s only remaining goddess. Assisted by a juvenile (and oddly incontinent) dragon named Mikhail, she tackles them in reverse numerical order, cutting a bloody swathe through each deity’s armies. She’s hostile to everyone she meets – even poor, put-upon Mikhail – and ignores any and all pleas for mercy. Soldiers cry out in terror and her sisters beg for forgiveness, but Zero slices them apart without pause. “I don’t hate you,” she tells one sister, “I just want to kill you.”

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Transistor Review: We Found Artsy Beauty In A Sci-Fi World

Transistor Review: We Found Artsy Beauty In A Sci-Fi World
Another fantastic accomplishment from Bastion developer Supergiant Games, Transistor is an inspired, refreshing videogame with tons of charisma.