Gat out of Hell, New Saints Row Unveiled at PAX

Voliton had promised the announcement of a new project at PAX, and they came through with it. As expected it’s an addition to the Saints Row series, more specific it’s a standalone expansion to Saints Row IV and is called Gat out of Hell.

Many people were expecting a new game in the series, and while I’m sure that already is in the works as well, this is “just” an addition to the last game. In this version the crew is playing around with an Ouija board when their beloved boss suddenly gets sucked into hell. The crew, always up for an adventure, doesn’t need long to decide to follow him for a rescue.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”600″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fteDOwbT3Q[/youtube]

Users who wish to play the new hell game don’t need to own the original, as it’s a standalone version, with everything included. It should launch in January, on the 27th, next year and cost $20. I for one am looking forward to blowing up some daemons with my dubstep gun.

Thank you Voliton for providing us with this information.

Image and video courtesy of Voliton.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag PC Review

The Assassin’s Creed series has won and lost many fans with each iteration of the series, some say the games keep getting better and better, while some argue that the games are too similar and don’t innovate enough, both opinions are correct in so many ways. ACIII was by far my favourite in the series so far and the promise of taking the gameplay elements that were added there, such as the hunting and sailing, then fine tuning them into the pirate filled world that ACIV brings to the table sounded too tempting to pass up.

Pirates are often under represented in gaming, there are few truly great games out there, if any, that I can think of that took being a pirate to the level of a AAA release from a major studio and I’m certainly not going to consider the horrible tie-in games that accompanied Pirates of the Caribbean. There is Raven’s Cry coming out next year, but for now the only big hitter is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

You take the role of Edward Kenway, who is in fact the grandfather of Connor Kenway, the lead protagonist from Assassin’s Creed III. Sailing the seas as a privateer becomes a non-profit affair after nations sign treaties and your life quickly turns to piracy. Members of the Assassin order attack your ship, leaving you on your own, but being as resourceful as ever you start the game on a mission to take a boat of your own, gather your own crew and hunt down the Assassin who killed the crew of your ship. This is where the game really gets into its stride and before long you’re fully into the swing of the Assassin life, crossing the worlds of being a hitman / pirate and it really is a mix that works very well.

Ditching the Templars and joining the creed and you find yourself working with Benjamin Hornigold, Calico Jack and Edward Thatch (Black Beard) as they seek to establish a nation free of European rule where men can do as they please. The typical Assassin’s vs. Templars story line is still there, but much more of a passive story line than in previous titles, you feel much more like a free individual playing your parts in the course of events that are bigger than yourself.

Land based adventuring is much what we’ve come to expect from the series, there are soldiers everywhere that are out to kill pirates, but at the same time they’re none to fond of assassin’s either. You still skip along rooftops, climb into castles and palaces, kill using stealth to further the interests of you and your compatriots. Sea based adventuring is a huge part of the game, you have your ship and a small crew. Your crew can perish in battle and it is important to either hire crew at bars, or rescue them from guards around the games locations, such as stopping a hanging, or intervening a firing squad.

Your ship is upgradable, everything from armour, to its weapons can be tweaked and improved heavily throughout the course of the game, it’s extremely important to do so too as you’ll find the need to take on bigger, faster and more powerful ships. Hunting ships earns you rewards such as loot which can be done by either sinking or boarding, and it’s the latter that really requires you to have a strong crew, or else you’re sailing yourself into a potential slaughter. Your actions will not go unnoticed either, much like in games like Grand Theft Auto, a wave of fighting and looting will get the attention of Hunter ships, they’re fast, dangerous and put up a mighty fight on the high seas.

There are islands to explore, cities with docks, and there is much open sea for you to ride the wind and enjoy the joyful singing of your crew. The cities are packed life and full of detail, with plenty of places that are nicely tailored to the assassin lifestyle, allowing you to hop, skip and jump till your heart’s content, leaping from the rooftops upon your prey.

Animation seems a little improved, climbing is a little more fluid than before, but overall the whole thing does still look and feel just like Assassin’s Creed III, which is of course no bad thing. Graphics are as slick as ever and Ubisoft have reason to be proud of their creation thanks to some great textures, smooth voice acting and some stunning sights from the games plentiful high-spots.

Missions are great, but for the most part you’ll find that you’re either killing someone or pirating ships, it sounds repetitive and in many ways it is, but at no time did it get boring, and the pirate side of things is involving enough to have stood up as a game of its own, the assassin’s creed typical moments just sweeten the deal.

Multiplayer is still here, but despite a few minor tweaks it’s what we have come to expect from the series. There is little innovation, but the game types are still as fun as ever and it certainly adds extra value to the game once you’re finished with the sizeable main quest and plentiful side missions.

When it comes to Assassin’s Creed games, Assassin’s Creed III is still one of the best for those who love sneaking around and playing the role of the assassin. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is no better or worse in that respect, but the overall game is so much more thanks to the pirate gameplay, and it’s this that makes it the best in the series so far overall. If you loved III and you want to sail the seas and loot ships, the Black Flag is an incredibly entertaining experience.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag PC Review

Deep Silver Have An Easy Way Of Dealing With Piracy, Ignore It!

Deep Silver are doing great, they’ve just had a string of successful titles hit the market and all are still doing relatively well too. We’ve got the Dead Island series, Saints row IV and Metro: Last Light and while two of those were actually picked up from the closure of THQ earlier this year, they’re proving profitable for Deep Silver non the less.

While speaking with Penny Arcade, Deep Silver attribute their success to focusing on the PC version of each game and launching them along side their console counterparts. Not some shoddy port, not a delayed release, they get the PC edition right first time. In Deep Silver’s own words, a PC edition of their titles isn’t an option, it’s just what they always intended to do all along.

“We have always been publishing on PC, and PC is close to our hearts from the outset. It’s not an added thought at all,” said Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Deep Silver. “It’s hard to generalize because certain projects and certain developers see the PC as their primary platform, and then console comes after that. When we look at Metro for example, Metro is first and foremost a PC brand. In the first iteration, it was launched on Xbox 360 and PC, but it is at its heart a PC product. There is not a question about whether it’s difficult to also launch on PC, because PC is number one.”

It is clear they’re are passionate about PC, in fact it is safe to say they’re not bias about any format they release on and that rather than porting their games, they just design them with multiformat in mind. This flies in the face of many other big developers such as Rockstar who focus on console releases due to piracy. Given that PC has a bad reputation for illegal downloads, which is completely unfounded given that GTA V console editions are being downloaded like crazy and still selling millions.

“There is not the submission process with first parties, you are a lot more on your own to determine if the game is ready. Many publishers are not launching day and date because the PC is so difficult, but they fear the piracy issues, so they’d rather first focus on consoles” said Dr Kundratitz.

When asked about piracy Dr Kundratitz has one solution, ignore it. Which is of course not to be confused with condoning piracy. When asked if he had considered their own DRM platform such as Uplay, Origin etc;

“We have not, no. Uplay is not the way we want to approach things, definitely. I think we just need to make sure that the games we publish are worth the money, and certainly there is always this piracy situation that any publisher has. No publisher can tackle, really.”

Do you agree with Deep Silver and their ideals? Forget the fight against piracy, focus on making products that are worth buying. I know I do.

Thank you Penny Arcade for providing us with this information.

PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 Gaming Notebook Review

Introduction


Gaming away from home is definitely becoming more and more popular, with eSPORTS rising up and consumers living in a mobile lifestyle, and this is a perfect place for a desktop replacement notebook that allows you to play some of the most extreme games on the planet, while on the move.

Generally speaking, if you want to play extreme games like Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light, then you’d be restricted to a fully fledged desktop system with enough power to deal with anything that you throw at it, but this has all changed over the past couple of years. More notebooks are being released that can rival these power hungry systems and still incorporating powerful processing power and extreme GPU performance.

The new notebooks that are hitting the market are making the divide between desktops and notebooks in terms of performance so fine that they are now overlapping by quite a margin with many of today’s laptops being produced having far more power than some of their desktop counterparts. Because of this overlap in performance and the number of users who want a compact system to take to gaming events such as iSeries (the UK biggest gaming festival) growing, its more and more common to see people attending these events with desktop replacements as their primary system.

PC Specialist are one of the UKs leading system integrators and since 2002 they have seen multiple awards across many publications for their systems, including the Vanquish X200 Gaming Rig that Peter had a look at a few months ago. The companies dedication towards selecting the best components for each build and the option to customise each and every system they have available with a whole hopst of options means that there are hundreds of ways in which a particular system can be configured. This means that there is with out a doubt a system for every persons needs out there.

After having a look at one of PC Specialists desktop systems, we want to see what their top end laptops have to offer to the table so let’s take a look at the specifications as this system arrived with us:

  • Name: Vortex IV X780
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4700MQ
  • RAM: 16GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 1600MHz (2x8GB)
  • SSD: 120GB Kingston SSDnow V300
  • HDD: 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Black SATA (7200RPM)
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 780M 4GB
  • ODD: 4x BluRay ROM/8x DVD-RW Combo Drive
  • Network:  Killer Wireless-N 1202 Dual Band/Gigabit LAN/Bluetooth 4.0
  • Warranty: 3 Year Silver (1 year collect & return, 1 year parts, 3 years labour)
  • Price: £1,449 inc VAT + Delivery

Click here to buy this laptop with the above spec for the offer price of £1449 inc VAT and delivery

The specifications listed above – even for a desktop system – is highly impressive so to see such a top level of performance packed into a 17.3″ laptop chassis with room to spare is even more impressive. The custom system features components from Western Digital, Kingston, NVIDIA, BigFoot Networks and Intel

Looking at the box that the laptop is shipped in, first impressions are that there is nothing over the top hiding inside, but this is far from the truth as inside is one mammoth laptop that – on paper- can pack one hell of a punch.

Inside the box alongside the laptop, PC Specialist include a driver CD, cleaning cloth, multi-lingual user manual and a PC Specialist welcome booklet. On top of this there is also an 8 cell, 5200mAh/76.96WHr battery and a whopping 230W AC adaptor.

Asus Unveil Their Z87 Lineup – Including Never Seen Before Models

With Haswell on a close horizon and Intel still holding the fort under close guard with regards to their 4th Generation chips, we’ve been seeing the lid slowly lift from each of the motherboard vendors on what their new boards will have to offer. Asus is next in line to show off some of their new boards from their Series , TUF (The Ultimate Force) and ROG (Republic of Gamers) lines and at each level they are offering up the best they can in terms of performance, user experiences, stability and upgrade paths.

Jackie Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Sales commented “ASUS possesses the best research and development expertise, and as always we are confident that we offer our customers the finest quality with these new motherboards. We’re including a variety of media-praised exclusive features with each model, and are proud to announce that we have the most comprehensive Z87 motherboard launch line-up, all available simultaneously”

On the bottom end of Asus’ new line-up is a completely re-branded set of Series boards. The most notable part of this re-brand is the drop of the blue and black colour scheme that we have come to know with Asus entry level boards – the new colour scheme is based around a two tone yellow/gold, but thankfully this is not a shiny gold which would be rather displeasing to the eye. Whilst there are a number of boards in the Series range, looking at both ends of the range, Asus have covered all the grounds when it comes to compatibility – something which we have seen previously on their Z77 boards of a similar level. Between this board is a number of models that make a transition from a board for more mainstream builds, offering all the Z87 features. These include the Z87-C, Z87-PRO, Z87-PLUS and the Z87I-Delux (a mini ITX offering).

Top top end of the Series range see native PCI fully replaced with PCIe amongst other subtle changes. All the new series boards will see the integration of Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-way optimisation, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 2 amongst other now offerings from Intel.

Moving up one stage and on to the TUF line of boards, this line only see some subtle changes with a full ATX board that in some respects looks very similar to the previous generation Z77 board. This is all because of the thermal armour that is laid across the PCB to keep the board as cool as possible and keep dust away from all empty slots with a series of Dust Defender plugs that fill empty ports. On the back of the PCB we see a new Fortifier metal plate that reinforces the PCB to prevent it warping whist in use and an airflow boosting valve design around the CPU power areas.

Making a fresh appearance to the TUF line-up is one of Asus’ many new boards. The Gryphon is a mATX version of the Sabertooth and like its bigger brother, it features all the same top quality components and features as well as the extended expected lifetime from its higher temperature tolerance. What is missing though is the thermal armour, however Asus will be supplying this separately and the two piece kit can be quickly mounted to the Gryphon’s PCB.

Top top of the new Z87 range is Asus’ top end ROG boards. These boards for a number of generations now have been renowned for their top end performance and overclocking abilities. New to the ROG line of boards and sitting mi-range is the HERO. This new board’s purpose is to offer mainstream the gamers the stepping stone into the ROG brand, but at a price point that is far more manageable compared to the flagship Maximus IV Extreme. As well as these two boards, Asus will also be launching an updated Maximus IV Gene and all these boards will feature Supreme FX audio as well as a new on-screen ‘Sonic-Radar’ that works as a viual overlay to any game to indicate the direction a proximity of a gun fire for example in a visual format.

The flagship Extreme board see a new overclocking tool, that unlike the previous generations OC-key is set to be far more user friendly and intuitive to use and alongside this in the Extreme box, users with find a 5.25″ drive bay adaptor to allow the OC Panel to operate as a fan control panel from the front of a case.