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Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Here's Deal 7 in Sony's European 12 Deals of Christmas Promotion


Syndicate Savings galore
Dec 14
// Vikki Blake
Today's 12 Deals of Christmas is Assassin's Creed-flavoured, with discounts available for the standard and Gold digital editions of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, as well as savings on the Season Pass. From now until 11.59pm GMT...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's Jack the Ripper DLC coming next week


December 15
Dec 10
// Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Syndicate has been teasing its Jack the Ripper DLC for weeks now, but this is the first time we've had a really good gander at it. All told, it actually looks quite meaty, and the new story trailer isn't hal...

Review: Rayman Adventures

Dec 08 // Brett Makedonski
Rayman Adventures (Android, iOS)Developer: Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftReleased: December 3, 2015MSRP: Free, with microtransactions Rayman Adventures is an auto-runner that often moves at a restrained pace. Swiping on the screen gets the titular character moving, tapping implores him to jump, and swiping again changes direction. And while many runners press ever-onward left to right, Rayman Adventures tries to avoid that trap, usually allowing the player to dictate the flow. Keeping things from speeding out of control is a smart design decision, but not one that's quite consolation enough for inaccurate inputs. Chaining together swipes and taps works sometimes, but it's a bummer each and every time they don't. More damning, the rest of Rayman Adventures feels built around those moments when the controls falter. The big picture going-on in Rayman Adventures involves saving Incrediballs. These quirky creatures help Rayman grow a tree higher and higher into the sky for whatever reason. Incrediballs occasionally appear fully grown, but they'll often take the form of eggs that need to be incubated (either by waiting or by using resources to speed up the process). [embed]325074:61452:0[/embed] Incrediballs feel very much like a direct response to Adventures' lacking controls. The player can call on a number of them to assist them through a level. The game's broken down into three main level types: exploration-based, combat-based, and collection-based. For combat levels, each Incrediball acts as a shield for Rayman, a second (and third and fourth) chance for when the player inevitably runs into the tightly-placed enemies. That's an example of Incrediballs acting as a crutch, but sometimes they're flat-out necessary. In collection scenarios, dedicated Incrediballs act as a magnet for the Lums; there's no performing well without their assistance. Predictably, this all loops back to the fact that Rayman Adventures is a free-to-play title. Incrediballs grow tired and need to be fed in order to be used again. The game dishes out a fair amount of food, but you can always buy some with real money if the need arises. To its credit, Rayman Adventures never gets heavy-handed with the microtransactions. There isn't any sort of mechanic that forces you to either pay or keep waiting, and resources seem to come at a constant enough clip that there exists the possibility it won't ever become an impediment (unlikely as that may be). However, there's a flood of different consumables that make them difficult to keep track of: gems, golden tickets, food, and elixirs can all be earned/purchased, and they all feed right back into one another. For example, tickets (and more) can be bought with gems. That ticket you scratch off might award some food. Food's used to revive Incrediballs which are used to perform well in levels, where the likes of gems might be the prize. Round and round we go. To what end, it's difficult to say. Scaling back and looking at Rayman Adventures as a whole paints it as a game where progress feels meaningless and sometimes confusing. But spending time inside the Rayman-patented lively world is a joy in small bursts, even if the execution is left wanting. Like those other Rayman titles, Adventures effectively captures the spirit of the franchise; it just has a hard time living up to the sterling precedent those games set -- a tall task that maybe the mobile format never had a chance of accomplishing in the first place. [This review is based on a retail build of the game at launch. No microtransactions were purchased.]
Rayman Adventures photo
So close, yet so far
Rayman has had a good run of it as of late. The last two console games -- Origins and Legends -- were fantastic platformers worthy of the highest praise. Now Ubisoft is testing the franchise's viability in the ...

Assassin's Creed photo
Also coming to Vita
After months of going without any sort of real news on Assassin's Creed Chronicles' last two entries, we now have confirmation straight from Ubisoft that they will be released in "early 2016." Following up China, India a...

The Division photo
The Division

The Division adds alpha, delays beta, keeps release date


But why?
Dec 07
// Brett Makedonski
The pre-release plans for Tom Clancy's The Division got a minor shake-up today. The upcoming survival shooter no longer has a beta before the end of 2015. But, that doesn't mean we won't see it at all in December. Ubisof...
Eagle Flight photo
Eagle Flight

Ubisoft's Eagle Flight is coming to PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive


Feel the breeze
Dec 05
// Zack Furniss
A couple months ago, Vikki wrote about this video where Ubisoft put a camera on a bald eagle to promote Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Looks like that same footage was used for Eagle Flight, Ubisoft's new VR game (PlayStation V...
Far Cry Primal photo
Far Cry Primal

They call him Stompy McBigstompers, the best stomper in the land


Guess how he got that name
Dec 04
// Brett Makedonski
My trip to see Far Cry Primal wasn't completely filled with previews and interviews. I sto[m]pped working for a few minutes to see this giant dude crush stuff. Holiday decorations, gingerbread houses, and guitars were no match for this grade-A stomper. In between stomps, I reflected on my career arc that led to this particular moment in time. This job's weird, man; video games are weird.

Why Far Cry Primal is the purest form of Far Cry

Dec 03 // Brett Makedonski
It was a savage and brutal era, and those are the two adjectives that Decant repeatedly returned to when trying to sum up the feeling that any Far Cry game needs to nail. It's no coincidence that a game set in the Stone Age happened sooner than later. "The people behind the Far Cry brand have been dreaming of doing something like Primal for a really long time," Decant confessed. "I think it's just that we have people who are very good who are doing some crazy prototypes about fire population and about controlling animals and stuff like that. One day we just said 'we should do that.' The Far Cry brand is probably the most open brand at Ubisoft. You can really go in different directions with it as long as you remain savage and brutal in an open world." That flexibility is on full display in Primal. For all the elements of Far Cry 4 that are carried over (it's built on the same framework), it feels surprisingly not like a Far Cry game at times. It's an odd sensation knowing the title's roots, identifying them, but not being impacted in the same way. It's likely because what's new in Primal is enough to distract from anything that feels old. The Stone Age aesthetic of orange-like hues and primitive camps feel like a far cry (boo!) from the tropical islands the franchise is used to. Most notable, there's a new buddy system in the form of a beast-master mechanic. The beast-master system allows the player to tame animals in the wild (there are 17 variations), and call on them in battle. They're handy sidekicks whose worth is immediately validated. They're extremely helpful, as they show no hesitation in leaping into battle and taking on several enemies at once. When they're inevitably hurt, a slab of meat nurses them back to health. Decant didn't downplay his excitement for the animal control feature. In fact, he pegged it as Far Cry Primal's greatest strength. "It's the most exciting, most surprising feature I think we have," he said. Decant gave the spiel about Ubisoft's commitment to authenticity and remaining truthful to the era. However, that came with one caveat; liberties were taken whenever it'd make the game more fun. The beast-master mechanic is a shining example of that. But, despite all the historians consulted and research performed, it's not authenticity that'll make a Far Cry game. No, as Decant pointed out, it's that savage and brutal tone that's the staple. No period can claim ruthlessness quite like the Stone Age, and that's why Primal is the purest form of Far Cry.
Far Cry Primal photo
Light my campfire
Far Cry has always been very good at getting the player into an open world and letting them interact with nature. However, the reasons for arriving there haven't always been as strong. It's how you end up with frat boy turned...

The animals are the real stars of Far Cry Primal

Dec 03 // Brett Makedonski
At a preview event this week, I spent an hour with Far Cry Primal. Free rein to the game wasn't quite permitted, as there were no story missions available; Ubisoft seems to be keeping that under wraps for now. Instead, I was left to wander from campfire to campfire ticking off side objectives and open-world encounters along the way. No matter which direction I traveled, from the glaciers of the north to the swamps of the south, there were ferocious animals all along the way. At first, I'd actively seek them out. Sabretooth nearby? That sounds fun to kill, let's go. I never found out if they were actually fun to kill. My defeat was swift each and every time I encountered one. By the end of the hour-long session, I went out of my way to avoid them. I'd watch them chase around other animals, holding my breath until they were finally out of sight. Safe for the time being. [embed]324054:61365:0[/embed] The reason for being appropriately underpowered had everything to do with my arsenal. Primal is the first Far Cry game that doesn't prominently feature guns. Clubs, spears, and arrows are the weapons on-hand, and the adapting process isn't necessarily easy. No longer can you rely on spraying bullets until you're out of a sticky situation. There's a world of difference between unloading a gun's clip and throwing spears one by one when a mammoth is charging at you. To soften the cold, harsh reality of the Stone Age, Ubisoft has taken some liberties with man's connection to creature. Far Cry Primal features a beast-master system that allows for the taming of animals, which can then be summoned to help in battle at any time. There are 17 variations, but I only saw three: a small jaguar, a white wolf, and a bear. Not only do they serve as a great distraction in battle, but they actually take care of some enemies on their own. As seems to be the theme with Primal, your beasts are at their best when facing off against other humans. There are plenty of enemy people wandering the game's sizable map, but they never feel as formidable as the wild animals. Maybe it's because, like you, they also have to get into position to throw a spear. Whatever the reason, these interactions seem as if they pose a considerably simpler challenge than an unfortunate surprise encounter with a good number of the game's many animals. For all the animal-controlling Far Cry Primal asks the player to do, it's a more passive tactic that proves to be the most delightful. With the press of a button, an owl can be summoned to fly overhead and scout out the surrounding area. Basically, it's Primal's response to not having a camera to tag enemies. The owl comes in particularly handy when checking out human outposts. Once you feel satisfied that you've seen enough, you can divebomb an unsuspecting human and murder him. It's a great way to get a jumpstart on a camp before sending your next animal in. That owl is probably the least threatening thing in Far Cry Primal, but even it has no problem asserting its dominance over mankind. That's just kind of how it goes as Far Cry sees the tables turned for the first time; humans weren't yet the dominant force they'll eventually be. Emphasizing animals seems like a good direction for the franchise. It required turning the clock back a few million years, but consistently befriending and battling beasts feels right in line with the Far Cry spirit -- a savage and brutal affair that's more about surviving than anything else.
Far Cry Primal photo
Friends and foes
The Stone Age is a remarkable moment in history ("moment" meaning 3.4 million years, in this instance) because it was a period when mankind wasn't at the top of the food chain. Beasts ruled the roost and humanity had to tread...

Review: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Dec 02 // Chris Carter
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $59.99Release Date: December 1, 2015  First and foremost, let me make it clear that Siege is still very much a strategic game, despite an increased emphasis on action. The crux is engrossed in the "siege" concept, where two teams of players are placed on opposing sides of offense and defense. The former is tasked with infiltrating a specific area, usually a building of some sort, and the latter will put up barricades and properly booby-trap the zone to protect an objective. Defensive capabilities are quite versatile beyond placing traps, with the ability to patch up windows à la Call of Duty's zombies mode, or deploy items for the rest of your team. The sheer entropy that comes out of this simple premise is lovely. There are so many options for breaching and a litany of defensive options that no one game is the same. Players can rappel up almost any window and break in, sneak around and breach doors with charges or a good old fashioned sledgehammer, or blow up walls and create new entrances. The concept of a destructible environment is not new (games like the original Red Faction have been doing it for ages), but the development team really follows through here, with a good balance of destruction to keep things tense. Part of the variety comes from the 20 Operators, which are essentially the classes of Siege. Archetypes range from a bruiser, to a "brainy" tech girl, to a medic, but all of them have a unique twist gameplay-wise that sets them apart from one another. It's also imperative that your team works together, choosing combinations that complement each ability -- this is partially forced by the fact that the game doesn't allow two people on a team to pick the same Operator. In the end though, any combo works relatively well as long as the team is on top of things, and players don't run blindly into rooms without thinking of all of the options available. [embed]323032:61291:0[/embed] While the 5v5 asymmetrical game type is the core mode, there are also two more facets at play -- Terrorist Hunt (PVE) and Situations (single player). The former is a lot like horde mode with a twist, as players will be dropped into levels with randomized objectives and enemy placement, with three varying levels of difficulty to choose from. While I prefer the insanity of playing human opponents given the open-ended nature of the game, I really enjoyed taking breaks with the PVE mode, as it really does provide a ton of different scenarios across its 11 maps. It's tough, too, as one bad move can result in a near-death experience, requiring others to rally around your low health pool, and bust out tactics like going in a vanguard formation with a shield-wielding Operator. From what I've seen people really attempt to use a mic, and if you strive for a shooter that transcends the "point and shoot" mentality, you'll find solace with Siege. If desired, players can also go at it solo, which is a nice option for those of you who don't love being online all the time. Having said that, there is no campaign whatsoever. Instead, you'll have your pick of 11 Situations, which are very similar to Terrorist Hunt, but with their own set of challenges. For instance, finishing a level with a certain amount of health or completing specific tasks will net you instant renown. I actually really like this mode, as objectives can be completed individually, even if you fail a mission -- so there's incentive to come back over time and eventually "three-star" each Situation. It's absolutely not a substitute for a full-on story mode, but it's one of my favorite non-campaign additions in a while, in a sea of multiplayer-only shooters. As previously stated, the way these characters are unlocked will likely turn off some, but it's very much par for the course for the genre, and even ahead of the curve in many ways, actually. In fact, I'm sitting here, having only played the game for a few days, with 10 of the 20 Operators, which isn't bad at all. If you hate the idea of microtransactions on principle you'll likely be angry here, but on my end, I was easily able to ignore them and still enjoy Siege. As for server issues, I've heard reports of other platforms' lack of stability, but Siege has been very reliable for me on Xbox One in the past 48 hours. While there are occasional bouts of connection problems after booting up the game, the issue is resolved in seconds, and I've played hours-long sessions with no problems. Rainbow Six Siege has a lot going for it when it comes to the long haul. While three modes doesn't sound like a lot, the sheer volume of variables involved will result in an experience that constantly stays fresh, even with the current pool of 11 maps. While a few other major shooters have let me down this year, I think Siege is one of the games I'll be playing the most going forward.
Rainbow Six Siege photo
A new taste of Rainbow
The original Rainbow Six was one of the first squad shooters I ever played, outside of the Delta Force series (both debuted in the same year). I still remember hanging out at my friend's house with his dad, who also...

Rainbow Six: Siege photo
Rainbow Six: Siege

Here's how Rainbow Six: Siege's microtransactions work


It's par for the course
Dec 01
// Chris Carter
Since Ubisoft is Ubisoft, there's been some confusion as to how the microtransaction system works in Rainbow Six: Siege. Having experienced the retail version, I'll explain. Basically, everything that comes with a gameplay ad...
South Park photo
South Park

Obsidian's team had full access to the South Park archives for The Stick of Truth


Did You Know Gaming
Nov 30
// Chris Carter
South Park: The Stick of Truth was a pretty ambitious project -- so much so that I didn't think it would ever actually come out. But when it did, it blew my expectations away, and Obsidian had another hit on its hands. ...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Where is our review for Rainbow Six: Siege?


Working on it
Nov 30
// Chris Carter
After a beta snafu, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is set to launch tomorrow on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One platforms. So where is our review? Well, we declined Ubisoft's review event as per our policy, so we'll be getting...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Like killing off your own team members in Rainbow Six Siege? Ubisoft has plans for you


'It will not be tolerated'
Nov 30
// Vikki Blake
Ubisoft will not tolerate players who kill off their own teammates in Rainbow Six Siege. Replying to a fan tweet that asked if there were plans to "to do anything about trolls that kill people on their [own] team," the develo...

PC Port Report: Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Nov 27 // Joe Parlock
Rig: AMD FX-8320 3.50GHz Eight-Core processor, 12GB of RAM, AMD HD 7970, Windows 10 64-Bit. Framerate measured with Raptr. Game played at the “High” graphics preset. First things first, as a technical product Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is definitely one of the best of the series on PC. The graphics options are incredibly descriptive, so those who may not quite understand which ambient occlusion or anti-aliasing settings would be best for them aren’t left in the dark. I particularly like the little bar in the top-right corner that shows just how much of your video memory is being used, letting you tweak the game to be as high quality as your card will allow. The game supports 4K resolutions for people with absolutely monster rigs and big enough screens to run them on, as well as widescreen resolutions (up to 2560x1080) and borderless windowed mode for easy swapping between applications. However, there are also some important options missing, such as the ability to change the FOV. This is a third person game though, so it probably isn’t as big of a problem for the majority of people as it would be in a first person ganme. Some people do still suffer from motion sickness when playing third person games though, so the option to change it could have been beneficial. Also worth noting is that Syndicate features full and complete key remapping, adjustable mouse acceleration, and full controller support for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PS4 controllers. Disappointingly, the menus suggest there is a way to remap controller inputs, but this doesn't actually appear to be possible. After spending so long playing Assassin’s Creed on PC, trying to play it with an Xbox 360 controller felt unnatural to me. The ability to tweak which button does what thing would’ve been nice. As I mentioned, Assassin’s Creed has never been known for its stellar PC ports. Assassin’s Creed III and Unity in particular suffered from poor optimisation, and I struggled to hit even a steady 30FPS on them with the rig described above. I’m not a framerate perfectionist who demands 60+ FPS in all things (even though I also understand people wanting to get what they’ve paid for out of their expensive hardware), but even then being able to get solidly 40+ FPS in Syndicate on the high preset felt like a breath of fresh air. Even in the most expansive or detailed areas I noticed very little drop in my framerate and considering how big the game is, that is a massive achievement. [embed]322674:61263:0[/embed] The only times there was a notable drop was on initially loading into the game (which is somewhat expected), and unfortunately during the carriage portions. Syndicate reintroduces drivable vehicles to the series, but whenever I picked up the pace or caused some carnage, the game would drop to around 20-25 FPS. This may be due to moving quicker through the world than it could load, but it was a bit of a disappointment none the less. Overall, I would have to say I’ve had a better time with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s port than with Unity or AC3, and it’s even arguably running better than the better games in the series like Rogue or Black Flag. When I played the demo at EGX, I came away feeling incredibly disappointed. At the time, it was just as buggy as Unity, without building on any of the mechanics introduced. It felt like one big rehash, and it left me worried for the future of the series. Now that I’ve been let loose on the final version, I can safely say that I was totally wrong. Syndicate is right up there as being one of my favourites in the entire series. It has its problems, but I can confidently place it alongside Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed 2 as being one of the series high points. Victorian London is recreated beautifully. The detailed streets, the steam trains barging down the tracks, the Thames chock-full of boats…the entire game feels like you’ve stepped into a Charles Dickens novel. One that involves lots of stabbing and the threat of naked hologram aliens, but a Charles Dickens novel none the less. Weirdly, I’d argue Syndicate borrows and improves on a lot from Watch_Dogs too with just how many moving parts the city has. Carriages, trains and boats make London feels a lot more dynamic than previous cities in the series, and at times can allow for some really cool getaways. A big problem I had with combat in Unity was how effective ranged weapons were against you. Almost every enemy carried a gun, and there was no way to counter against them, meaning armed enemies at range had a massive, massive advantage and frequently proved fatal. This problem was elegantly solved in Syndicate, where now you can simply dodge shots at any time. You don’t even need a human shield anymore. To balance it, melee combat is a lot trickier now. Gone are the days of simply countering everything and killing everyone all in one combo. Now you have to be smart, do damage when you can, and often running away to get an advantage later on is the better solution. It really helps encourage stealthier play, while also not being an instant death sentence should you decide to be a bit noisy. Speaking of stealth, Syndicate takes a lot of emphases away from the series’ cornerstone of “social stealth”. Instead, you now have a stealth button that will cause Jacob and Evie to crouch down and pull their hoods up. A lot of the creeping is based more around hiding behind walls and staying out of sight, rather than hiding in plain view as has always been the core of the series up to now.  Blending into crowds just doesn’t feel all that important anymore, and at times I actually found it almost impossible to do. For example, bumping into other people can cause crowds to break up just enough to leave you exposed, but when you want to close the gap on an enemy using the crowd as cover you’ll be bumping into people a whole lot more. I’m still not sure whether this change is good or not, as when you’re placed into environments designed for it the new stealth system feels involving and effective, but it does make the game feel a bit less Assassin’s Creed to me as well. The changes to player movement in Syndicate can be a bit of a mixed bag. I love the new line launcher that lets you quickly scale buildings, across entire streets, and opens up lots of new tactical possibilities in dealing with enemies. Being able to jump in, cause some damage, and then zip away again really made me rethink how to handle enemy encounters, as now the strategies I’d learned from the earlier games simply wasn’t the best way of dealing with things. On the other hand, the parkour system does frequently suffer from weird pathfinding issues.Syndicate adopts Unity’s system of having one button to move up and another to move down, but moving down often resulted in me getting caught up on bits of scenery and winding up heading in a totally different direction than what I was intending. While it’s certainly nowhere near the broken state of Unity, Syndicate does still suffer from some bugs. Aside from the pathfinding issue I’ve already mentioned, I’ve notice plenty of people teleporting around in crowded areas, random deaths when pinned against stationary trains, and enemies running around in tiny circles. It’s by no means a bug-free game, but they’re minor hitches in a massive game, so I personally could look past them. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate does have problems, but that doesn’t stop it from being the most enjoyable, interesting and different entry since Black Flag. The setting is great, and the changes to combat, movement and stealth mean you can’t play it the same way as every other game in the series. It’s a bit buggy, and there are some minor performance issues, but please don’t let that stop you from picking up Syndicate. For both ardent fans and those who are a bit tired of the formula, chances are Syndicate is what you were hoping for. [This PC Port Report is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Update: Since writing this PC Port Report, I have upgraded to an Nvidia GTX 980. I can now confirm (albeit only anecdotally) that people with Nvidia cards may struggle with getting acceptable performance out of the game. The GTX 980 is a high-end card in Nvidia’s range, and can easily get a steady 60FPS in every other game I’ve tried so far with it. However, when setting Syndicate to max settings (which is what it recommended for me), I rarely hit 60FPS, and instead generally hovered somewhere around 45-55FPS. For my old card, I considered this acceptable because of its age and mid-range status, but for something like the GTX 980 I would really be expecting better performance. One thing that weirdly became more noticeable once I’d upgraded were the cloth physics, which are for some weird reason locked to 30FPS. Even if you’ve somehow got the game running at a smooth 60, Jacob and Evie’s capes will look incredibly jerky. Fortunately,PCGamingWiki has a simple .ini tweak that will uncap the cloth’s framerate. Overall, I’d say that the previous reports of Nvidia kind of struggling with this game are accurate. It still plays at a framerate I’m personally happy with, but I would’ve expected more out of my sparkly new card. Optimisation seems to be somewhat worse, and I noticed graphical glitches were a bit more frequent than before. It’s still by no means a broken port on Nvidia-powered PCs, but it’s something to keep in mind. --
Assassin's Creed Syndicat photo
Let's 'ave a butcher's at the PC version
Assassin’s Creed has had a rough time on PC. Not only did the very first game control poorly, but later both the third game and the infamous Unity both had a glut of technical issues, bugs, and suffered with very p...

Jack the Ripper photo
Jack the Ripper

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's Jack the Ripper DLC is probably imminent, maybe


Achievement lists light the way
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
It has only been a month since Assassin's Creed Syndicate launched, but the first add-on might be lurking in the shadows, ready to strike any moment. The compelling Jack the Ripper DLC is the biggest expansion that...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege beta delayed six days before game launch


This can't be good
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
The open beta for Rainbow Six Siege isn't kicking down any doors yet. Despite being scheduled to being today at 10am Eastern, it's not available to play. Ubisoft has delayed it because of technical issues. Specifically, ...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Progress on new Rainbow Six Siege beta will not carry over


Boo
Nov 19
// Vikki Blake
Although the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege beta ends just two days before its street date release, your beta progress will not carry over if you decide to pick up the full game.  "Your progression, inventory and Ranked...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Try before you buy: Rainbow Six Siege has an open beta next week


Idris Elba has an important message
Nov 18
// Brett Makedonski
On the fence about Rainbow Six Siege? Next week, a'splode a man-sized hole through that fence and then through the side of the house and then through the floor. Blow your indecision to smithereens. Ubisoft's holding an open ...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate releases on PC tomorrow, but will it work?


That remains to be seen
Nov 18
// Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Syndicate is one of the best Assassin's Creed games in recent memory. But, only two-thirds of the prospective audience has gotten a chance to see it. While PS4 and Xbox One owners have had the chan...
Rayman Adventures photo
Rayman Adventures

Next month's Rayman looks great, I'll probably never play it


Coming December 3 to little fanfare
Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
People have said nothing but good things about Rayman Jungle Run and the third mobile Rayman game using the same assets (after Fiesta Run), Rayman Adventures, looks great. And while Jungle Run was limited as an endless runne...
Zombi photo
Zombi

Huh, Zombi is headed to retail in Europe


PC, PS4, Xbox One in January
Nov 17
// Jordan Devore
Ubisoft is bringing Zombi to retail in Europe on January 21, 2016. The horror game debuted on Wii U years ago as ZombiU, and only recently dropped the "U" for a digital-only release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Strange...
Green Man Gaming photo
Green Man Gaming

[Update] More publishers claim Green Man Gaming is selling its games unauthorised


Your keys might not work, so be careful
Nov 17
// Joe Parlock
[Update]: We have received this statement from Green Man Gaming's head of PR: As you know, we have official and direct relationships with a range of publishers, developers and distributors. Some publishers send us keys ...

Review: Just Dance 2016

Nov 09 // Caitlin Cooke
Just Dance 2016 (Xbox One [reviewed], Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Wii)Developer: UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $49.99 (Just Dance Unlimited streaming service is an additional $6.99/month, 39.99/year)Release Date: October 20, 2015  In addition to the usual modes in the Just Dance series there are a few new ones present to provide different offerings to newcomers and spice things up a bit for seasoned players. Along with the normal competitive Dance Party mode, you can now play cooperatively with other players and work together to reach a high score. Dance Quest is also new, showcasing an interesting concept where you compete against a robot leaderboard and move through the ranks in a set playlist. World Video Challenge allows players to compete with people from around the world in a pre-recorded environment, and Showtime is the most different of the bunch, essentially allowing players to participate in glorified karaoke. Perhaps one of the most useful features to be carried over from Just Dance 2015 is the ability to play the game without a Kinect by holding your smartphone, and allowing up to six players to join in. The Kinect seems to be a forgotten accessory these days as the game no longer supports menu navigation through Kinect, rather players need to use the controller to scroll through. I find this to be a win in my book as I never felt as if it did a good enough job of tracking navigation anyway. The phone navigation is fairly smooth overall but with a limited interface compared to using the controller. I also found the phone tracking buggy at times and even less reliable than using the Kinect to play. For example, if my phone had some kind of notification (like a low battery indicator) go off, it paused the game mid-dance. This caused a lot of frustration since I didn’t really feel like disabling notifications every time I turned the game on. However, I do feel the added flexibility of allowing smartphone play is worth it overall and I’m glad they included it again. Unfortunately the meat of the game, the song list, is lackluster. Recent hits seem sparse, and the variety of genres and time periods also seem to be missing. A majority of the music combs sub-par top hits from the past five years, with only a few one-off gems out of the bunch. I would have liked to see more hits from the '80s and '90s, or at the least better songs from recent years. The choreography for the most part seems lacking across the board with a few exceptions. Perhaps it’s impossible to raise the bar here with six other versions behind its back, or maybe it's betting on the unlimited streaming service to fill the gaps. Some of the dances stand out -- for example, in “Under the Sea” you mimic Ariel and have to sit down, using arm movements and moving your “fins” to the beat. There are also a few interesting choices that mix the game up including a kung-fu style choreographed segment, an Irish dance, and a song featuring Hatsune Miku. These are the high points of the game, especially if you love making your friends dance to silly songs. Outside of this, it’s standard pop fare. The new Showtime mode isn’t much to talk about unless you enjoy humiliating your friends, in which case it’s a complete masterpiece. There is no set choreography, just pure singing and forming your own dance moves to an effects-driven video filled with overlays. It’s not something I enjoyed doing on my own, but watching friends go through it was delightful. I do however wish it offered more songs as you can only pick from a handful -- I suppose designing those overlays and graphics takes a lot of time. The game overall feels a bit limited -- despite all of the new modes, it doesn’t seem very open in terms of what you can do. For example, the Showtime and other video uploads only show a few brief clips from other players around the world, and there isn’t really any way to sort or find new videos -- it only shows you what’s popular and what’s most recent. I was also disappointed that Dance Quest mode, although a bright concept, was extremely limited in that you’re dancing against robot scores (not real people) and you’re not able to create playlists or jump around to different quests. Despite my qualms, I had fun playing Just Dance 2016 -- but then again, it’s hard not to. It’s still a favored party game and one that has almost perfected the fun-for-all game model. Heck, it’s reached a point where it’s thrown in some mediocre new modes and a subscription model just to keep itself fresh, so in some cases you can call this a success. However you can also say that Just Dance is a dying breed, one that is taking its last breath to capitalize on the streaming craze that’s enveloped our little gaming world. I say we don’t think about it too deeply, and just dance. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
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