Pirates of Stardew Valley Getting Given Copies From Players

Typically when a game comes out there are two kinds of people who end up playing the game. Firstly you have the people who purchase the game, looking to enjoy the game in all its glory. You then have the people who will illegally download the game, looking to enjoy the fun without supporting the games creators and losing out on a little cash for the experience. Players have come up with an ingenious way to solve this problem though, with pirates of Stardew Valley getting given copies from other players.

Stardew Valley is currently one of the most played games on Steam, with people looking all over to enjoy the experience, some without paying the £10.99 the game costs on Steam. The response from the community in support of this game is unique, with a member of a Reddit forum looking to pay back the creator by forwarding a few copies of the game on to people who couldn’t afford to buy it.

The original post reads:

So today’s payday and I’ve got a bit of cash leftover after paying my bills. I’d like to use it to pay /u/ConcernedApe back for the awesome game he/se’s made and his/her absolutly stellar involvement with the community.

If any of you folks can’t play because you’re out of cash, let me play it forward for ya 🙂

P.S. That being said, I’m not exactly made of money. I probably won’t be able to buy everyone in the thread a copy of the game. So, sorry in advance if I miss you. Maybe another generous member of the community could spread the love?

EDIT: Forgot to mention, you don’t need to post your Steam name or anything. I’m sending Humble Store gift links because the Humble Store takes a smaller cut of the sticker price than Steam or GOG. That means more of my money will be going directly to ConcernedApe. The Humble Store doesn’t give you a DRM-free copy, but it DOES provide a Steam key.

This quickly became a thing, with people requesting a free copy of the game, followed by people looking to give out copies as well, with more and more people looking to both share the game and support its creator.

I don’t think this is a one off either, other threads have already appeared offering the same deal and I wouldn’t be surprised if big hit successes get threads like this more and more often in the future.

Naughty Dog Used Assassins Creed Concept Art

People are protective over their work, they care about the fact that if they spend time making something then they should at least have their name on it, being rewarded by recognition at least for their efforts. So imagine the surprise when Ubisoft noticed their work in Naughty Dog’s trailer for Uncharted 4?

The mistake was first noticed by none other than the head of content for Assassins creed Azaïzia Aymar.

The trailer has now been taken down but not before the creative Director of Ubisoft Montreal managed to get a quick tweet in regarding the matter.

In a comparison of the two images, you can see the only difference being a slight difference in colour and the lack of a pirate (why would you remove a pirate from a picture?)

The image in the Uncharted 4 trailer

The Assassins Creed Black Flag concept art

Naughty Dog has since responded saying that they messed up, with Neil Druckmann treating a link to a statement from the company.

In the statement NaughtyDog state that they “didn’t thoroughly vet the artwork used” for their story trailer. They go on to apologise to everyone at Ubisoft, who worked on Assassins Creed, the original artist and even their fans.

Pirates State That Cracking PC Games Is Getting Too Difficult

2016 is a big year all around, with new movies and games being released, people are going to be busy buying the latest in their collections. Not everyone does this, some watch movies online before they are released in the cinema and some play games without buying them. With the video game industry set to expand this year, the matter of pirates will be something the industry has to contend with. Pirates are known for breaking the encryption that protects games and often share these “cracked” versions online, although according to some reports, that may not be true for much longer.

Speaking to TorrentFreak, a member of the Chinese hacking group 3DM has said that over the last eighteen months people have been finding it more and more difficult to crack the recent releases. Providing examples, apparently it took over a month to crack Dragon Age: Inquisition while games like FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3 are yet to be cracked even with games like FIFA 16 being released all the way back in September.

One of the reasons they are finding it so difficult is the use of secondary DRM technologies like Denuvo. Designed to be unobtrusive and almost silent to paying customers, this combats one of the reasons provided by users of cracked games, the fact that their experience is ruined by DRM measures which require them to be constantly online for single player games.

It could not be long before extra DRM methods are subtle and silent, leading to more and more people giving up on cracking games in favor of paying for them.

Fallout 4 Pirate Learns Expensive Lesson as Bitcoins Go Missing

You should never pirate games or software in general, that is something that we all know. There are those who can’t resist that temptation now and the, but it can end very badly and end up costing you a lot more than just purchasing the game straight away. That was a lesson that was learned by Redditor arkanoah as he discovered that 4.88 BitCoin went missing from his wallet.

He took his problem to Reddit in order to try to figure out where his missing BitCoin were and how they got missing. Other Redditors were quick to notice the time of disappearance, November 11th, which coincides with the time that Fallout 4 was released. Asking the question if he had pirated that or another game was answered with yes and that’s most likely the way his BitCoin were stolen.

Cracked software is risky to download as it often contains malware in one form or another and it is the most likely scenario that this is the way that the 4.88 BitCoin went missing. The user originally scanned his download with antivirus software and later the system with Malwarebytes and GMER which both returned zero infections. So whether the attacker cleaned his tracks after downloading and cracking arkanoah’s BitCoin wallet or the mechanism used is so sophisticated that it isn’t being detected is up to everyone’s own guess, we most likely won’t find out. It is however most likely that the perpetrator cleaned his tracks before leaving the victim’s computer.

At the time, the 4.88 BitCoin were worth $1773, quite a bit more than the game would have cost him on Steam or other platforms. Lesson learned, I hope.

ISP’s in Germany Can be Ordered to Block Piracy Websites

ISP’s are the ones responsible for giving the public access to the world wide web and everything that you can find on it. The problem with the public having access to everything is that sometimes they give access to things which they shouldn’t, a game or a movie or sometimes just designs for things which haven’t even been created. Piracy online is the concept that you either host or copy something that you don’t own, have the rights to use or the permission to run. Germany has had enough though and its supreme court has said that maybe you shouldn’t be able to access that material online.

In a recent ruling, the supreme court has ruled that ISP’s can be required to block sites if they meet two conditions first. The first condition is that the person requesting the block must have explored alternative options, this can be anything from contacting the person that uploaded the material to contacting the site that hosts the material.

The second option is that the site can only be blocked if “on balance” they are deemed to have more illegal than legal content, this means that if someone uploads one bad file to your system the chance that your system will be blocked is small.

More and more countries are making moves like this, from tracking down illegal uploaders to blocking off people’s access to the materials, where do you stand on this question. Should we be given free reign of the internet and the people who are illegally uploading materials targeted or should the people who download and use the materials illegally be acceptable targets for legal action as well?

Statistics Show a Rise of Online Piracy in the UK

We’ve heard that the UK government is increasing the penalty for using online content illegally, with potential pirates now facing up to 10 years in jail. But now, let us show you why they came to this conclusion.

According to the Intellectual Property Office, online piracy has risen from 17% to 18% since their 2013 statistic. Breaking down the numbers, we see that 9% of Brits download music illegally, 6% have pirated at least a movie and 7% watched TV series online from illegal sources. But the latter numbers come from people who downloaded or streamed at least one item of pirated content over the span of three months.

The overall numbers show that 26% of music consumers are getting or streaming their music from pirated sources. A sizeable drop has been noticed for people who download or stream pirated movies, going down from 33% to 25%, but an increase of 3% has been noticed in TV series consumers, going up to 21%. The use of legal services doesn’t look too promising either.

A decrease from 40% to 39% of internet users can be seen in those who prefer to use legal sources, while those who mix legal and illegal sources seem to have maintained a 12% ratio. The overall download and streaming of legal content shows signs of slight decrease too, dropping from 70% to 69%, with a mix of legal and pirated content use remaining at the same 22% compared to the 2013 statistic.

In addition to the above, the research shows that there has been an increase of 6% in online media consumption, meaning that the more people consume online content, the more likely they are to either mix legal and illegal sources, or go ‘full-on-pirate’ and use illegal sources. But will the UK government change this by applying harsh penalties for online pirates? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nick Falkner

Malwarebytes Offers Free Reprieve to Pirates

Oh the conundrum of pirated software, on one hand, it’s better to support the product, on the other hand it’s free, but loyalty is what counts, yeah but it’s free. Software companies have tried many avenues to stop pirates, from banning individuals from using particular online games to as in Microsoft’s case, offering free copies of Windows 10 to cracked software owners only to change their minds around 50 times.

Popular and successful Anti Virus Company Malwarebytes have taken a different view and are offering an amnesty to pirated keys in exchange for legitimate licences. How does it work? Well according to the Malwarebytes website, if you try, well not you, but if someone attempts to activate a pirated licence key, a message will appear informing them of two options. One is to contact Malwarebytes for a new 12 months key before its disabled with the second option being for paid customers of legitimate licences.

Malwarebytes aims to roll out a new licensing system which is stronger and also hopes to determine which keys are for which owners. The offer is for a limited time only but as of writing, there is no defined end date to which this offer will end. It’s a brave move to offer a free key to pirates, but in turn the company is not threatening users with legal action etc which might build a stronger reputation with users in the long run.

Or this could be just the case of spreading a huge net to see who bytes, bites, I am speaking in tech, either way it will be interesting to follow the progress of this offer.

Thank you Malwarebytes and Forum for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of degreedix

The Wolf of Wall Street Was the Most Pirated Movie of 2014

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Yes, the Leonardo DiCaprio biopic was the most illegally downloaded movie with 30.035 million downloads. Still, the Oscar-nominated movie grossed $392 million despite all of those downloads.

Although the highest, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ was certainly not exceptional –  the close second, Disney’s ‘Frozen’, was downloaded a massive 29.919 million times. The equally close third – the 2014 remake of ‘Robocop’, was downloaded 29.879 million times last year.

What’s most interesting about this list, is how it compares to previous years. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ was the most downaloded movie of 2013 with just 8.72 million downloads, suggesting that movie piracy is definitely on the increase. See the full list bellow.

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street: 30.035 million (Paramount, Dec. 25, 2013)
  2. Frozen: 29.919 million (Disney, Nov. 27, 2013)
  3. RoboCop*: 29.879 million (MGM, Feb. 12, 2014; and Orion, July 17, 1987)
  4. Gravity: 29.357 million (Warner Bros., Oct. 4, 2013)
  5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 27.627 million (Warner Bros., Dec. 13, 2013)
  6. Thor: The Dark World: 25.749 million (Disney/Marvel, Nov. 8, 2013)
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 25.628 million (Disney/Marvel, April 4, 2014)
  8. The Legend of Hercules: 25.137 million (Summit, Jan. 10, 2014)
  9. X-Men: Days of Future Past: 24.380 million (20th Century Fox, May 23, 2014)
  10. 12 Years a Slave: 23.653 million (Fox Searchlight, Oct. 18, 2013)
  11. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 23.543 million (Lionsgate, Nov. 22, 2013)
  12. American Hustle: 23.143 million (Sony/Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013)
  13. 300: Rise of an Empire: 23.096 million (Warner Bros., March 7, 2014)
  14. Transformers: Age of Extinction: 21.65 million (Paramount, June 27, 2014)
  15. Godzilla: 20.956 million (Warner Bros., May 16, 2014)
  16. Noah: 20.334 million (Paramount, March 28, 2014)
  17. Divergent: 20.312 million (Lionsgate, March 21, 2014)
  18. Edge of Tomorrow: 20.299 million (Warner Bros., June 6, 2014)
  19. Captain Phillips: 19.817 million (Sony/Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013)
  20. Lone Survivor: 19.130 million (Universal, Dec. 25, 2013)

Source: The Verge

Could This be the End for The Pirate Bay?

Police in Sweden have reportedly taken down popular torrent site The Pirate Bay. The site has also been down today, notable as it is seemingly the first time in months users haven’t been able to access it.

TorrentFreak is reporting that Swedish police conducted a raid in Stockholm, “seizing servers, computers, and other equipment”. While there is currently no official confirmation linking this to The Pirate Bay, the fact that the site is down, along with the fact it originates from Sweden, suggests that this may well be to do with it.

The police did however confirm the raid itself and said that it was to do with intellectual property, another indication of its involvement with The Pirate Bay.

“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” 

A number of users have taken to the site isitdownrightnow.com, with some potentially revealing further details on the situation.

‘torr it up all u want, sweden police have shut down the main server. no more PB, methinks.”

Source: TorrentFreak

Buy an Apple Pirates Flag for $1,900

Susan Kare, the designer of the original Macintosh’s graphics, fonts and icons, has announced that she is to start selling hand painted pirate flags.

The flags have been designed to resemble the flag once flown above the Bandley Drive building at Apple’s campus – the building where Apple’s top secret Macintosh team were hard at work building the legendary machine in the early 80s.

Steve Jobs said “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy”, hence why programmer Steve Capps thought it would be a good idea to get Susan Kare to paint a Pirate Flag and fly it above the building. Something that was initially a joke about Jobs’ insistence on the Mac team being rebellious pirates, ended up becoming a “permanent fixture of the building”. You can read more about the flag’s origins at folklore.org.

You might wonder who would spend that much money on a flag. Well, I must confess, I have spent about £120 on a beautiful print hand signed by Susan Kare, that will soon be on the wall above my desk.

You can order the flag here, but be sure to take a look at all of her other designs, whether you’re an Apple, PC or Android user – I’m sure you’ll find something that appeals to the tech lover in all of us.

Source: The Verge

 

Australian ISP asked to Hand Over Customer Personal Information over BitTorrenting

‘Not Our Kind Of Club’ is the stance Australian ISP iiNet is taking against American studio Dallas Buyers Club LLC – which asked the service provider for sensitive customer details of those it suspected infringed copyright laws through illegally obtaining its Dallas Buyers Club film. The Aussie ISP outlined in a lengthy and detailed blog post about its opposition to the discovery order that was submitted through the Australian Federal Court. In its blog post, iiNet states that the company “would never disclose customer details to a third-party, such as movie studio, unless ordered to do so by a court. We take seriously both our customers’.

iiNet claims that the ISP is gravely concerned about bullying tactics used by movie studios to intimidate and make pirates pay up big time for their actions, and follows up by saying that it has seen third-party alleged infringement notices ordering up to fines of $US7000. Copyright holders attempt to collect evidence of infringement via IP address tracking and tracing, whereby they monitor and analyse addresses that are illegally sharing content. Once the links been recorded, the copyright holder starts applying through courts for what’s called a preliminary discovery process, which asks for personal information and details of account holders that are routing through infringing IP addresses. The consequences of losing the hearing are rather dire – as it could lead to a flood gate of copyright infringement notices from major studios.

iiNet’s blog calls into question fair trials and processing;

It might seem reasonable for a movie studio to ask us for the identity of those they suspect are infringing their copyright. Yet, this would only make sense if the movie studio intended to use this information fairly, including to allow the alleged infringer their day in court, in order to argue their case.

In this case, we have serious concerns about Dallas Buyers Club’s intentions. We are concerned that our customers will be unfairly targeted to settle any claims out of court using a practice called “speculative invoicing”.

Because iiNet has opposed the discovery order, the ISP will be forced to meet in court with the Dallas Buyers Club LLC. The hearing is expected to be dated for next year. For more information on this topic, see the full blog post by iiNet – available here.

Thanks to iiNet for providing us with this information.

Pirating Fast & Furious Costs 33 Months of Jailtime

Pirating movies is wrong and illegal, nothing new in that. But it is quite rare that someone is caught and convicted considering the amount that gets pirated each day. The 25 year-old computer programmer Philip Danks has now learned the hard way that it can hit anyone and has just received  33 months jail time.

Philip had recorded Fast & Furious at the cinema  in Walsall, near Birmingham with his camcorder and then uploaded it to a torrent site. It was then downloaded 779,000 times, a number Universal Pictures claims to have cost them almost £2.3 million.

He didn’t just have the movie uploaded to KickassTorrents and other torrent sites, he also sold physical copies of the film for £1.50 each, making him about £1000 in total. His sisters ex-boyfriend, that helped him upload the movie, was sentenced to 12 months community order with 120 hours of unpaid work while Philip himself got 33 month of jail time after pleading guilty to three charges of distributing pirate copies of films on Thursday under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.

 “Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you.” was his message on Facebook two days after his arrest.

Sentencing, Recorder Keith Raynor said: “This was bold, arrogant and cocksure offending. Your approach to the film industry was made clear in the posting you made on Facebook two days after your arrest.”

Detective Sergeant Rod Rose, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “We assisted the Federation Against Copyright Theft throughout this case with search warrants, forcing entry to addresses and making arrests. Fraud comes in many disguises and ultimately affects all of us.”

Thank you rt for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of fast&furious.

The UK is Looking Into Alternate Solutions to Stop Illegal Torrent Downloads

The UK’s biggest internet providers in collaboration with the government and content creators are said to change the way they deal with people illegally downloading and/or sharing entertainment online. They say that instead of punishing the person, they will be sending out letters in an attempt to ‘educate’ him or her, as well as pointing out legal and comprehensive alternatives.

“We believe people will ultimately pay if they can get what they want, how they want, at a price that’s fair to them.” Virgin Media stated.

The ISPs are said to team up under the Creative Content UK campaign, which includes BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, as well as entertainment institutions The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the British Record Music Industry (BPI). A significant multimedia awareness campaign is said to be the first phase, having ISPs sending out letters to users pirating content after the awareness. It’s said that people can receive up to four letters per year and nothing will happen if you choose to ignore them.

“Any alert will clearly recognise the account holder may not have engaged in copyright infringement themselves and we will be informative in tone, offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content,” said Virgin Media. “At no point will we share any customer information as part of this campaign. By embracing digital, the creative industries can realise significant benefits, reaching millions of people with new and innovative services.”

This looks similar to what Polish developer CD Projekt, The Witcher series’ maker, did a while back. They have found alternatives to pirated entertainment by changing its focus from people who don’t want to pay and encouraging people who do.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

Competition Winner Leaks Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5 on Multiple Torrent Websites

Gameloft has apparently held a competition last week, offering fans a chance to grab a free, full copy of Modern Combat 5: Blackout which was ‘due’ to be released this Thursday. The company is now regretting its decision it seems.

One of the winners who received the game is said to have pirated and uploaded it to several torrent websites. The latest title of the developer’s mobile first-person shooting series is now up for grabs ahead of its release date. Thousands of people have apparently played it by now, having some of them even uploading videos of their gameplay on YouTube (but taken down shortly after).

“As you can imagine I am really pissed off,” was written by the company’s Facebook group community manager, Florian Weber. “To anybody who got MC5 already, shame on you! We are making games for you and all you can do is pirate them? Anybody which is talking to me and shows in some way that he already has MC5 will get an instant ban. Seriously, this is why we can’t have nice things.” he added.

Although some may justify his response, others will just giggle and play on, enjoying their gameplay and probably making some “Yaarrr… I’m a pirate!” faces. Even so, Gameloft has apparently made the game available to only 3 contestants through promo codes, meaning that the culprit will be easy to find. The company has stated that they have even turned on anti-piracy systems and disabled illegal copies.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Forbes

Singapore Plans to Get Rid of Illegal Websites with New Law

Singapore is said to have its Law Ministry cooking up a law since April, similar to what is currently in effect in the UK, which will amend the Copyright Act and force ISPs to block infringing websites.

Indranee Rajah, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Law, has said that the law will give copyright owners “greater ability to protect their rights in the online space”. In doing so, all websites presenting copyright infringing content will be blocked.

“The prevalence of online piracy in Singapore turns customers away from legitimate content and adversely affects Singapore’s creative sector,” Rajah said.

The new law is said to take effect starting this August, having copyright owners apply to the court in Singapore without needing to establish the liability of the network service provider. THis means that the copyright owners do not need to issue a previously mandatory take-down notice, having the court itself dealing with such actions now.

However, though ISPs can block the websites, it cannot stop users from taking advantage of a VPN software and accessing the restricted websites. For example, the popular torrent website, The Pirate Bay, even has their own proxy redirect website, which grants users access to their so-called ‘restricted’ website. The ban in question seems to apply, as in the UK, for people attempting to type in just the website address and not the bypass techniques, rendering the actual link restriction almost obsolete.

Thank you CNet for providing us with this information

Pirates Win Latest Virtual ‘War’, Music Website Redirects to The Pirate Bay

There has been a constant war between the record industry and the pirates, which doesn’t seem to come to an end anytime soon. It’s been going back and forth for some time now, having battles being won and lost by both sides almost equally. However, the latest ‘skirmish’ between the two apparently ended up with the pirates winning the ‘battle’ against the music industry.

The latest news points to Argentina and its ‘blockade’, more specifically its attempt to block all internet access to The Pirate Bay website. This comes as a result of the Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers (CAPIF) complaining about music and video piracy through the latter torrent website. Following the complain, all access towards The Pirate Bay was blocked nation-wide. This apparently was not tolerated by the pirates, having the CAPIF website hacked in less than 24h after officials established the blockade.

The hacking attempt apparently was not to deface or take revenge by blocking the CAPIF website as well. The attack has been in a way quite ‘brilliant’, having to transform the CAPIF website into a fully function Pirate Bay proxy. The website then bypassed the nation-wide blockade and redirected users attempting to go onto the CAPIF website towards The Pirate Bay, which is really ironic, since potential customers were then redirected to a website full of multimedia files, having the able to download them completely ‘free’.

The CAPIF website has since then been restored after about 10 hours of ‘serving’ users a variety of torrents. While the hacking was hilarious to some extent, it does send a strong message to officials that pirate activists are not going to take such actions lightly and are able to fight back against the government actions to take down torrent websites.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Google Glass Banned in UK Cinemas Due to Piracy Fears

It was just one week ago when Google Glass was opened up to UK residents, and it didn’t take long before there was a bit of fallout regarding the popular wearable.

Due to increased concern of film piracy, ‘Glassholes’ will not be allowed to wear Glass into cinema auditoriums, it was recently announced.  The practice of camcording, which typically results in lower-quality pirated videos, is still a major concern to global movie trade industry groups – and there is concern that wearables provide a stealthy way to record.

Here is what Phil Clapp, Cinema Exhibitors’ Association said to The Independent: “Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not.”

Someone visiting the Leicester Square theater was ordered to remove Google Glass, indicating a trend that is likely to continue in the future for UK residents.

Movie trade group FACT issued this statement regarding Google Glass and similar disruptive technologies:

“Developments in technology have led to smaller, more compact devices which have the capability to record sound and vision, including most mobile phones.  FACT works closely with cinema operators and distributors to ensure that best practice is carried out to prevent and detect illegal recordings taking place.”

An incident in a theater in the United States led the FBI to remove a man from the building, because staff thought he was trying to illegally film a movie.

Thank you to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of GeekFed

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

May 2014 Release Date For Pirate RPG Adventure “Raven’s Cry”

In a joint announcement with Reality Pump, TopWare Interactive AG has announced that the RPG adventure “Raven’s Cry” will be released on 7th May 2014. The screenshots released today depict a Caribbean that’s far removed from the postcards, giving you an insight into the brutal life of a man who leaves only scorched earth in his wake.

Gloomy yet paradise-like images describe a world full of betrayal, greed and brutality. Accompanied by sinister cutscenes, the thirst for revenge leads the main character into an open, free-roaming world. “Raven’s Cry” is the story of Christopher Raven’s personal vendetta – and never forgetting that bloody vendetta, he still has to find ways to supply himself and his crew with all the necessary resources and information. Following the cry of the raven, he oversteps every moral boundary, drawing a bloody trail through the Caribbean.

Tadeusz Zuber, Head of the Development Team: “The idea for Raven’s Cry gives us the opportunity to create our very own image of the Caribbean and piracy, far removed from all the family idylls. Christopher is tormented by his own demons and external threats – and our goal is to make these realistic enough to be actually ‘felt’ by the player. Christopher is a man trapped in the chains of his own demons – and the only way to break these chains, it seems, is the path of violence and revenge which he has chosen.”

“Raven’s Cry” offers various RPG elements, so there will be a complex game skill system and modifications for all the ships in the game, which can be designed to influence the reputation of the individual sailor with the groups and enemies in the Caribbean. Christopher himself will continue to evolve in the course of the story, unlocking new abilities and weapons. His characteristic hook – as seen in the images – plays a vital role, especially in brutal close combat. Regardless of where Christopher’s path leads him to obtain information or money, he will never become a shimmering hero who coincidentally saves the world. For him there’s only one way out of his suffering and that is death … either his own life or the lives of his enemies. The people around him are either for or against him.

“It was important for us to drive Christopher’s sinister story on in a way that would enthrall players – but to give them more role-playing elements at the same time. He will constantly develop his character, his ships and his crew throughout the game and adapt it to his own personal style, which is somewhere between “Bad Ass and Bad Guy”, says Alexandra Constandache, CEO at TopWare.

RPG lovers should keep both eyes on this title next year, or maybe just one eye if you’ve already started wearing an eye patch. You can bet us here at eTeknix will review this one upon its release.

Thank you Ravens Cry for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ravens Cry.