Ubisoft DRM, New Forms for the Xbox 360, & Tecmo Bowl is coming back? – Welcome to the column that offers no copy protection (except for the boxing glove that appears if you try to steal any of the bad jokes) known as Dare to Play the Game.
Over the weekend, I actually finished a game review. I know, I amazed myself. The game was Data East Arcade Classics on the Wii. Retro classics, I can’t get enough of them. Needless to say, I played a healthy amount of each game but naturally some games got more time than others. Interestingly enough, the three games that received the most time were Heavy Barrel, Street Hoop, & Secret Agent.
Honestly, there was no way I was going to buy a disc of Data East favorites and not play Heavy Barrel (especially the arcade version) until my fingers were a bloody blue. People can talk about Ikari Warriors or Contra all they want but Heavy Barrel will always be top for me when it comes to war shooters. Street Hoop is actually a decent basketball game (though NBA Jam was certainly superior) and Secret Agent, I have no clue. Seriously, it’s an okay game, I just kept making my way through the various stages and beat it quite handily in the end.
This is Ali Hillis, she is the voice of Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII. The designers with the character wanted somebody that was still beautiful but strong and athletic as well. A female version of Cloud. Well I think they got that from the character design and the voice actress as well. Just don’t be carrying around any swords or hairdos twice your size ok?
Tecmo, the company that was once a giant in video game football, is continuing its slow return to the virtual gridiron. Today we have word of Tecmo Bowl Throwback.
The new game is another remake of Tecmo Super Bowl, the early 90s 16-bit classic. The first remake, Tecmo Bowl Kickoff, was released for the Nintendo DS in 2008. Coming very soon spring 2010 is Throwback.
Here’s an old-school look at the game, for comparison.
Tecmo provided the bullet points:
-Online Multiplayer: Find your old buddies online and challenge them to matches just like back in the day
-2D + 3D Graphics: Experience all new 3D graphics with the ability to switch to the classic 2D style!
-Customizable Teams and Rosters: Play as any of the 32 teams with customizable team names and rosters in full seasons
-Online Leaderboards: Compare your stats in a wide array of online leaderboards
-Classic Game Modes: Battle it out with your friends and kick off a game in Preseason, Season or Pro Bowl modes
The game is being developed by Swedish development studio Southend Interactive. And while at least one screenshot released today may serve as ample reminder that this game is being published by Tecmo…. … the company affirms that the game will be rated E for everyone.
Tecmo Bowl Throwback is just the latest of the arcade-style football games released for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Late last year, EA released Madden NFL Arcade, a downloadable version of the company’s Madden NFL 10 for the Wii. There may only be one football video game released on disc these days, but for download, you’re getting choices.
As you know, the football market has been pretty stale since Madden became the only player in town. Sure, there was All-Pro Football (which was decent but flawed in overall execution) and that Blitz the League game, but things just haven’t been the same since Madden forced out the 2k franchise by buying up the NFL license. However, one of the heavy hitters from back in the day has decided to make a comeback. Thank you Tecmo Bowl.
Tecmo Bowl was a joy to play, mainly cause it was treated as an arcade game rather than a full on simulation. It didn’t try to be the most authentic game on the block, it simply wanted to be the most fun. There are still people out there with a copy of Super Bowl and some modded rosters who simulate seasons to this very day rather than spend $60 on the newest Madden adaptation.
So Tecmo decided to bring it back, spice up the graphics some and slap on multiplayer online options. The most important attribute here is that it is fully customizable. Rosters and teams. So if you want to create the current NFL landscape or you want to remake some of the greatest teams ever, you have that option. That coupled with Tecmo Bowl greatness should make any football fan jump and shout. I do wish they made this a $20 disc game (which would have gave Madden a cause for concern) but I’ll gladly take a spin on this downloadable title when it comes out in the upcoming months.
A screenshot from the new game. I know a lot of people will complain about the size of the characters but I’ll reserve judgment until I see the game. I still think its going to be nine waves of awesome.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was supposed to be talking about cloud computing on Thursday, but an offhand remark during a Q&A session hinted that additional “form factors” for the Xbox 360, with price points to suit them, are being considered.
By “form factor” Ballmer evidently means something vastly different from a hard drive or HDMI configuration. Someone posed a question about hardware diversity – not specifically mentioning the 360 – and Ballmer seemed concerned by the fact there’s “no diversity” in the 360 line.
We actually have a TV implementation in some senses built into Windows. It works really well for small screen TVs that you might call a PC, but for that big screen device here’s a piece of hardware that we build, there’s no diversity. You get exactly the Xboxes that we build for you. We may have more form factors in the future that are designed for various price points and options, but we think it’s going to [be] important.
Whatever that could be, your guess is as good as mine. McWhertor, back in January, reported that Microsoft is still intent on bringing some set-top box/DVR functionality to the Xbox 360 via Uverse and Mediaroom, although it won’t be a device that replaces one outright. Maybe that is at play here. It’s also just as likely that Ballmer’s comments reflect strategic thinking only, not something yet grounded in solid plans.
The Xbox 360 could be morphed into the ultimate multimedia machine. Using my box as an example: it already plays games, listens to music (Last.FM), watches movies (Netflix instant streaming), and when its working correctly, also opts as a media server. That media server part is far from perfect; I fiddle with it whenever I’m bored. Anyhow, that machine does more than any other piece in my entertainment center. The idea that it could do even more or that Microsoft could use that architecture for other media pieces would make a lot of sense.
For the longest time, I have wanted a DVR box. But I don’t want to change satellite companies just so I can get a free DVR or get a discounted one for six months jazz. However, if Microsoft were to come out with an Xbox 360 that either included DVR support or a stand-alone model, well heck I might listen. In reality, the Xbox 360 is just a glorified PC that can be modified to meet a whole host of entertainment needs.
The downtime that plagued PC gamers trying to play Assassin’s Creed II yesterday was the result of a denial-of-service attack, causing one of Ubisoft’s new DRM-servers to become unreachable. But hey, at least no one has hacked the game yet.
Ubisoft’s controversial new digital rights management solution went gone live for both Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter V this weekend, only to go dead for a large number of users shortly thereafter. The DRM system requires users be connected to the internet while playing the game in order for it to function, and many players reported not being able to connect to Ubisoft, which meant they were not able to play.
Yesterday Ubisoft community managers were telling people that the downtime was due to high demand. Now Ubisoft’s Twitter tells a different story.
Apologies to anyone who couldn’t play ACII or SH5 yesterday. Servers were attacked which limited service from 2:30pm to 9pm Paris time
So while there was indeed strong demand, it was artificial demand, created via a denial-of-service style attack that affected at least one of Ubisoft’s servers. From the Twitter:
95% of players were not affected, but a small group of players attempting to open a game session did receive denial of service errors .
Hacking attacks on Ubisoft’s new DRM system were hardly unexpected, considering it has already been attacked on a regular basis by fans and critics.
While it may still be alienating players, at least the DRM is getting the job it was intended to perform done, as Ubisoft’s Twitter proudly proclaims.
We’re happy to say ACII & SH5 are withstanding the efforts to crack them. We see the rumors but still confirm no valid cracked versions exist.
I’m sure all of the people who were desperately trying to play Assassin’s Creed II yesterday are pleased as punch.
Yet another reason why PC gaming is dead unless it is a)Facebook apps or b)World of Warcraft (or another MMO). Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter V both require you to verify your copy every time you want to play it. It doesn’t matter if you just want to slip in for a level of offline play, you need to verify it through their online service. So, apparently some hackers got ticked off and launched a denial of service attack. I don’t support the action but I can’t say I blame them either.
It’s a very silly system. Assassin’s Creed core gameplay is offline based, a single player story mode. But yet, Ubisoft makes you go online to play the game. That makes about as much sense as my ex-wife taking a Nintendo and a box of games in our divorce settlement when she doesn’t even play them. This is Ubisoft’s way to curb piracy, but in the process make legitimate buyers of the game have to jump through hoops to play the blooming thing.
Before I stopped playing pc games and stuck to console only for everything that wasn’t World of Warcraft, I did purchase games with copy protection. The ones that required you to spin a code wheel or find a word in a manual. You know what I did most of the time? I went and found the crack on the internet. I cracked my own legal copy of the game because I didn’t feel like jumping through hoops on my own legally bought game. I guarantee that users of Assassin’s Creed II feel the same exact way.
There is no magical crack however for users of Ubisoft PC games. In fact, if Ubisoft were to go belly up tomorrow, those game owners might never be able to play those particular games ever again. I wonder if anybody @ Ubisoft has realized this, actually they are probably rubbing their hands together and laughing over that fact. Maybe it is just my wife, holding a NES cartridge over a small fire and cackling manically.
See, what you don’t know is that Ezio here is holding some Ubisoft executives for ransom. Ransom until you stop making such ridiculous copy protection. I’m pretty sure he can be quite persuasive.
This is one of those bash and crash vehicular combating racing games. You race from an overhead perspective in any of sixty different racing missions. There are shortcuts, jumps, obstacles and even nitro boosts along with twenty different vehicles. These can include monster trucks, bulldozers and even airboats along with normal sport cars.
There are also a king of the hill, demolition derby and a “Survivor” game where you go around the track but are chased by tanks, helicopters and police cars. Think “Twisted Metal” meets R.C. Pro AM. Apparently this already has people like David Jaffe upset who thinks that the game is a little too close to the Twisted Metal game. Seems more inspired by than anything else, but give it a shot.
One day, Max gets a mysterious marker in the mail (here is hoping he didn’t sniff it first). So he decides to draw a purple monster. The purple monster comes to life and goes on a rampage on Max’s other drawings. Looks like Max is going to have to fix this somehow. So with his magic marker, it’s up to him to figure his way out of 15 different levels. You actually draw freely inside the game to overcome obstacles and solve the numerous puzzles. I’m curious how elaborate the engine is and how much freedom you could have with this game. Sounds like a great concept, especially for the kiddoes.
Dracula is here and well you sir are his prey. But first, he’ll send his legion of undead foes after you including some zombies, ghouls and werewolves. Luckily you have your skill and intelligence. Okay, scratch that, you also will have machine guns, buzzsaws, flamethrowers and more. Feel better? Good, cause you’ll need all the help you can get as you overcome the undead and then face Dracula.
Final Fantasy II is actually Final Fantasy IV in Japan, it was labeled 2 because it was the second native to American soil. This follows Cecil, a dark knight who is looking to stop sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and thus ending the world. He has many friends to help him in an ever-changing group of allies to defeat the monsters and minions of Golbez. A truly fantastic role-playing game, if you have not played this or the redos on the PS1, GBA or DS; do yourself a favor and spend 800 points this week.
Blazblue: Calamity Trigger
Final Fantasy XIII
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
Final Fantasy XIII
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
Winter Blast: Snow and Ice Games
Sam & Max 2: Beyond Time and Space
The Daring Game for Girls
Let’s Play Ballerina
The Daring Game for Girls
Let’s Play Ballerina
Tis the week of Final Fantasy XIII or for the Roman numeral impaired, 13. To be honest, I’m not running out and getting this title even though I’m sure it is excellent. Why? I haven’t played a Final Fantasy since IX. X, X-2 and XII are all sitting on the shelf unplayed. I know, I know. In addition to the Final Fantasy game, we also get a Gold edition of Resident Evil 5(for those who want the DLC and the game in the same package), a couple of new Pokemon games and Yakuza 3.
We can add Yakuza 3 to my If I were to ever buy a PS3, I would probably purchase this game list. The main story takes place in Kamurocho, a fictional version of Tokyo’s red light district and a new place called Ryukyugai. It will however contain real life landmarks and make you feel truly like you are in Tokyo. Except for Hostess Clubs, yeah those were taken out. But supposedly there are still Strip Clubs. This should make for a great game combining the sandbox concept and the Japanese mafia.
Finally, I did want to point out briefly that the second installment of Sam N Max is making the retail disc rounds to the PC & more importantly Wii platform. It will retail for $20 which is quite the bargain for those who have waited patiently for an actual disc version and not something you download off Steam or Xbox Live Arcade. Drop me a line if you actually see it in store. The first episode pack (Save the World) disappeared fairly quickly from shelves (though you can find a copy fairly easily in the secondary market) and I would like to grab this one before it probably disappears as well.
As mentioned last week, I have plans for two game reviews this month. The other title is Deadly Phenomenon for the Xbox 360. I am still on tap to tackle that review after I finish my current batch of dvd and blu-ray reviews. But that won’t be until after the end of next week, basically about a week and a half. I’m also basically done with Mortal Kombat vs Dc Universe. I don’t really feel like trying to conquer Arcade mode with every single character or being a punching bag for the online competitors.
So I would like to find a game that would last at most a week and a half. I know, I’m laughing at the premise too. This leaves out all of the Mass Effects, Dragon Ages, and any other game that requires more than a brain cell to play. This might be a good time to play something old I never got to like Conan or Condemned 2 or TNA Impact. Okay, maybe not TNA Impact. Perhaps I’ll just go play Mario Galaxy again and add a few more stars to my total. Have fun kiddoes, hopefully you figure out which game to play next quicker than I do.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)