Random scribblings by a prick. Enjoy.

New Assassins Creed title due this year; new character, new setting, new button to press

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During its call to stuffy-suit wearing investors who probably don’t give a rodent’s anus about videogames outside of how much paper it can make them, Ubisoft confirmed that not only would there be a new Assassins Creed title (I know right?  The shock.  Please, try to contain yourself) but that it would showcase an all-new character (sorry Connor, better luck next time… Oh wait.) in an all-new time-period.

For the sake of innovation you can also expect to press a new button too.  Pressing ‘A’ after all is so 2007.

Anyhow, i’m somewhat eager to see what the new setting is.  Personally, I think they should pull the trigger on a Japanese setting for the next game and have you play as a ninja, slitting the throats of fat feudal lords and styming your pursuers with caltrops and stuff.

It would be great.  Maybe.

What setting do you think would be a natural fit for the next ‘Creed game?

Written by bitsnark

February 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

MMA News: Josh Barnett seemingly NOT headed to the UFC after contract refusal

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So Josh Barnett going to the UFC? Yeah, that’s not going to happen now as Barnett’s manager, one Leland LaBarre, has communicated that the ‘Warmaster‘ has officially declined the newest contractual offer by the promotion.


Frustrated? Yep, I sure am; a veritable slew of entertaining matchups awaits the ‘Warmaster’ in the UFC’s HW division.

Fucking hell Josh.

According to LaBarre, money isn’t the issue; instead citing some “outlying issues” as the impuetus for the contract refusal, “We agreed on guaranteed compensation. In fact, we never even countered. We accepted their original offer.  However, there are some outlying issues — one in particular — that as of this point we were unable to agree on.”

As you might very well guess, the house that Dana White help build had no comment on the situation, but with any luck, we’ll see them around the negotiating table again.

As far as what those issues are however, its anybody’s guess.  Issues with the testing policy?  Not being able to supplement his violent vocation with shows where he just pretends to beat the ever-loving shit out of people? Who knows.

What we do know however is that it’ll be a while until we see the catch-as-catch-can wrestling submission specialist returns to the Octagon.  Barnett, whose record stands at a commendable 32-6, had his last dance in the UFC nearly eleven years ago where on March 22nd, 2002, he leathered the shit out of Randy Couture en route to a TKO victory to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion, only to have the title stripped off of him for pissing hot for banned substances after the bout.

His last fight was against the hilariously over-matched Nandor Guelmino during Strikeforce‘s swansong show in January, ending that particular confrontation in the first round with a suitably nasty arm and triangle choke.

As recently as last week, Dana White was optimistic that he could bring Barnett over to the promotion.  So hopefully they’ll continue their chinwags and their chequebook scratching as the ‘Warmaster’ would match up pretty well with the majority of the HW division and would provide entertaining fights with the likes of Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and recently deposed division king Junior Dos Santos for starters.

What do you folks reckon; would you like to see Barnett doing his thing in the UFC?

Written by bitsnark

February 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Beastie Bay FINALLY hits iOS. It’s still free too!

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With its Google Play exclusivity now in the rear mirror, Game Dev Story developer Kairosoft has at last brought the excellent Beastie Bay to iOS today.

Its addictive premise is simple; you and an animal friend of your choosing find yourselves marooned on a tropical island and in order to survive you must root around the island in order to find the requisite materials to fashion a home for the pair of you to live in.

Effectively a game of two distinct halves, you can research and develop new structures, harvest crops and even build tourist attractions to bring in the coin. When you’re not being all Kairosoft(y) and managing stuff, you can saunter out into the wilderness and its here that things get really interesting as like Nintendo’s celebrated money-printer, you can engage in turn-based battles with creatures that you have captured yourself; fighting with the turn based commands that you give them.

Naturally, you can nurture and upgrade your ‘beasties’ by building habitats for them on your island, researching new equipment for them to use, levelling up their stats and unlocking new abilities and special moves.

Look, the game is absolutely brilliant and better yet, its totally and ridiculously free so just buy it. BUY IT I SAY.

Beastie Bay is out now for free on iOS and the Android Google Play store.

Written by bitsnark

February 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Review: Deadlight (XBLA)

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Whenever Mr. Cookie Cutter publisher thrusts a game about zombies in our face, you could easily make the reasonable inference that it would involve many guns, probably chainsaws and an unreasonable amount of on-screen prompts and feedback as you mow down waves upon waves of the bloody things in true, po-faced Chuck Norris esque detached fashion.

With Deadlight then, it’s refreshing to see a game that rather than dry humping the well-worn FPS genre tropes; for which the zombies themselves have become practically synonymous with, instead attempts to apply a 2D platforming coating to a zombie survival setting and ends up doing a pretty good job of it.

Well, most of the time anyway.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by bitsnark

August 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

Review: The Walking Dead Episode Two – ‘Starved For Help’ (XBLA)

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With the release of episode one of The Walking Dead, it was fairly clear that developer Telltale Games had something fairly special on their hands, well, special by the measure of ‘interactive adventures’ at any rate.

It also didn’t hurt that unlike previous IP’s which Telltale have made to walk down the interactive adventure path, such as Back To The Future and Jurassic Park, that The Walking Dead is enjoying a very contemporary groundswell of fan support in the form of hugely popular TV series and on-going graphic novella.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by bitsnark

July 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

Ni No Kuni and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Confirmed Playable At Eurogamer Expo 2012

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This will be at the show. Did you see what I wrote there? NI NO KUNI WILL BE AT THE SHOW.

If you don’t know already, this year’s Eurogamer Expo is jam fucking packed with some seriously great titles which are going to be playable right on the show floor. We’ve had the likes of Far Cry 3, Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, Assassins Creed 3, Resident Evil 6, Devil May Cry: DmC and many, many more already announced.

And to add further fuel to the nerdgasmic fire comes news that Namco Bandai will not only be having the newest entry in their long-running Tekken franchise available for all to play, but they’ll also be debuting the gorgeous Studio Ghibli animated, Level-5 developed PS3 JRPG Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch *pant* on the show floor too – marking the first time it’ll be playable on UK shores.

Lee Kirton, Namco PR bod and marketing director had the following to say, via press release, regarding the announcement:

“Tekken Tag Tournament brings some incredible new gameplay styles for the franchise with brand new modes, an incredible roster of characters and the most involved and detailed training mode ever created for the genre,”

“Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is one of the most beautiful games we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” he continued, undeterred. “It’s already causing quite a stir within the gaming world with its blend of superb gameplay from Level-5 and incredible animations produced and supervised by legendary Japanese animation company, Studio Ghibli. It’s exciting that we can have both games hands on at the Expo.”

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Ni No Kuni; BOTH playable at this year’s Eurogamer Expo – what more do you need?

Again, if you haven’t done so already, you can grab some tickets here.

If you don’t have tickets for this, then the only conclusion I can draw is that you’re some sort of disgusting pervert or something.

The Eurogamer Expo is due to take place this year on September 27-30 at Earls Court in London.

Review: Spelunky (XBLA)

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When people talk about Spelunky they far too often refer to it as some sort of ‘death-grind’, where all you do is spawn and die and that’s somehow that’s the single, solitary hook that keeps you playing like some sort of brutal exercise in platforming S&M.

For me, it wasn’t the notion of getting flat-lined just to try again that kept me coming back, it was something a little more subtle than that; namely the concepts of greed versus survival and risk versus reward.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by bitsnark

July 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

State Of The Snark – Things Be A Changin’ & Thank You!

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The more things change, the more they’ll stay the same.

For the last seven or so years, I have been writing in my own little dark corner of the internet; blogging movies, anime and games; the impetus for which has always been my love for those three hobbies.  In May this year, I decided to get a little bit more serious about it; exporting my blog from it’s creaky LiveJournal hovel to WordPress which gave me a lot more freedom in regards to the visual style of my articles (it allowed the effortless inclusion of images and embeddable videos among other things) and also allowed me to reach a larger audience with my own domain name.

As a result of this transition, BitSnark was born.

BitSnark represents not just my passion for gaming channelled into words but also a means for getting myself seen with the goal of gaining more exposure.   That additional exposure has finally come, as popular videogame website The Gaming Vault  came knocking and as a result, I am now a writer for them; posting the exact same quality and level of content on their site as visitors to this site have become accustomed to.

My new home away from home, I’m privileged to be sharing it with some truly great folks – check it out! Don’t worry, Bitsnark will continue!

What this means for Bitsnark is that all of the reviews, news, articles and opinion pieces that I’ll be doing for TGV, will be re-fed through the Bitsnark facebook page which can be found here, in order to keep the folks who follow the blog up-to-date with all the new stuff that i’ll be writing.

With TGV being the primary recipient of my body of work, I won’t be looking duplicate all of the same articles and posts on here.  Instead, BitSnark as a WordPress blog will continue to function relatively independently, with some unique, not-necessarily game-related content being created for it as well as maybe the odd game review or two being cross-pollinated if you will from TGV.

It’s at this point that I need to put out some big thank you’s too.

My Long-Suffering Girlfriend, Hev  – Without her continued support and motivational kicks up the rectum, I would still likely be on LiveJournal, maybe posting an article or two every few months and leaving it at that.

Without her none of this would have been possible.  At all.  I really cannot overstate enough how instrumental she has been to all of this.

Lloyd Mitchell – A very good friend of mine; without Mr. Mitchell’s towering artistic talents, Bitsnark would have had been a largely faceless entity.  With his work on the BitSnark logo (which you can see at the top of the page), I feel that Bitsnark has been given an image which is both stylish and accurate to the sort of content that you can expect.  Lloyd also created the equally natty cover for the Bitsnark Facebook page too.  In short an amazingly talented artist and an even better human being.  Check out some of his superb work here.

My friends – Each and every one of you whoever said anything positive about my writing are as much to thank as anybody.  Your kind words, constructive criticism and mere attention to my scribblings have helped power me along and keep all of this afloat.  You know who you are – you folks are utterly irreplaceable.  Thank you.

Hate-Me Gaming – A collective of local friends and gamers, these guys have done a great deal to help promote Bitsnark.  As well as hosting an RSS feed, they’ve been periodically pimping my work through Twitter and for all of their work I’ll always be in their debt.  They are a superb group of people whose love for games is matched only by the warm welcome that they extend each and every person that joins them.  Get involved here.

GamerNights –  As well as being a cool web destination for folks looking for places to game online, GamerNights has also been instrumental in getting my blog out there and getting it noticed; very kindly linking an RSS feed to their site and publishing all of my newest stuff.  A superb little site ran by a group of superb people.  Check them out here.

ALL OF YOU – For each and every one of you who took minutes or even just seconds out of your day to view anything I’ve put out on Bitsnark you have my eternal gratitude and heartfelt thanks.  Every comment, every view, every link, every word typed about Bitsnark is something that I take as a personal kindness and as such again I would just like to say, THANK YOU ALL.  Without your attention, this blog would be dead in the water and I would likely be in asylum 🙂

Bitsnark WILL continue and I will continue to keep on writing to the same high standard that all of you have come to expect from me.

Thank you all once more and don’t fret, I’m sure I’ll see you all here and there 🙂

~John-Paul (Bitsnark)

Written by bitsnark

July 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Something You May Have Missed: ‘Papo & Yo’ For PSN – One Man’s Early Life Retold As A Gloriously Surreal Looking 3D Puzzle-Platformer

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A whimsical and seemingly unassuming logo; the actual game is anything but.

If you haven’t heard of ‘Papo & Yo’, I wouldn’t have blamed you given its relatively low profile.  A shame that said profile isn’t more prominent really, since Papo & Yo appears to be one of the most emotionally engaging and compelling looking releases of the year – downloadable or otherwise.

Papo & Yo is a surrealist 3D platformer that appears to take inspiration from the likes of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, ICO and Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending film, Inception.  Interestingly, the game is actually loosely based on the early life of creator Vander Caballero – a former EA employee who had worked on the likes of Army of Two and FIFA before deciding to leave in order to pour his heart and soul into the very personal project that Papo & Yo has become.

Papo & Yo aims to retell Caballero’s childhood and his relationship to his alcoholic and abusive father as an abstract tale – swapping out Caballero himself with a small boy named Quico and his father with a huge colourful beast.

By and large, the vaguely Rhinoceros-looking beast is very friendly to Quico – helping him to scale tall obstacles and break through barriers with the sort of ease that the diminutive child is unable to muster.  Yet, his one weakness is frogs which turn him into a raging, fire-spitting Efreet-type creature and make him every bit a potential threat to Quico as he was an ally before.  The parallels that you can draw vis-a-vis his experiences with dealing with an alcoholic father are obvious, but the changes in temperament of this creature remain emotionally poignant and have a substantial impact on the gameplay.  At its core, Papo & Yo functions very familiarly to fellow first-party exclusive ICO; in so far that the game is a platform puzzler with a dynamic NPC partner slant but its the various mood states of the monster that dictate how those puzzles are approached – if the creature is in a state of calm, puzzles become relaxing and chilled out affairs, if the creature is enraged however, everything goes out the window and self-preservation shoots up the priority list ahead of completing the puzzle itself.

This is an awesome dynamic and one that is carried through not just on emotional and gameplay terms, but asethetic ones as well.  When the beast is calm, the music settles on a delicate tempo, lightly hitting relaxed notes and with whimsical strings providing a calming backing to the events unfolding on-screen, if the beast consumes any frogs however, the tempo ramps up and the music becomes much more immediate with an indelible sense of danger effortlessly conveyed to the player.   On the note of the music also, Caballero promises a great deal of aural uniqueness even saying “You’ll hear instruments in this game that you’ve never heard before.  Like the jaw of a dead cow.”

Jaw of a dead cow.  How many games can say that they have that in their musical score?

Visually, the game is a complete treat for the retinas.  Taking place in a surrealist interpretation of his upbringings in the colourful favelas of South America, colour and vibrancy are the order of the day here, as is unpredictability and chaos; with the scene sometimes turning in and on top of itself when a puzzle has been completed or when the beast indulges itself on some amphibian-powered intoxication.

There are more muted and delicate visual flourishes too.   Chalk drawings appear on many of the walls in the favelas; depicting puzzles that must be completed and upon doing so, the components of those puzzles spring to life – with new staircases materialising out of the thin air, and small little gears sprouting legs and hurrying quickly to their required positions as fast as their tiny new found limbs will take them.  Another example, is when Quico is sprinting along a pitch black corridor with a dipped light at the end of the tunnel; as he runs farther and farther down the tunnel, a section of the darkened wall opens up to reveal a menacing shadow of the monster following him.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, let me tell you that I am completely entranced by this game. Very rarely have I seen such an awe-inspiring  fusion of emotion and visual imagination outside of games such as ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.  Even then, with this game drawing from a set of very personal experiences unlike the latter and the former, the emotional impact that this game delivers to the player with its visual allegories and character relationships comes across as a unique proposition all of its own.

Look at the trailer below and then put this on your radar and keep it there.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Papo & Yo is due to release exclusively on the PSN for the PS3 on August 15th, 2012.  It is expected to retail for £11.99.

Written by bitsnark

July 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Ultima Returns – EA Bioware Announce ‘Ultima Forever’ As Cross-Platform Free-To-Play Title For PC and iPad Later This Year

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My hopes aren’t terribly high for this, but any new Ultima is good Ultima… right? No? Ok then.

The original Western RPG Ultima, has returned to our screens – EA Bioware has today announced ‘Ultima Forever’ as a cross-platform, pay-to-win free-to-play title from the same label which houses their other free-to-play offerings such as Battlefield Play4Free and Need For Speed: World.

The official website for the new title can be found here where the splurge on the site triumphantly proclaims – ” The first great Western RPG has been lovingly restored in Ultima Forever,”.


If by “lovingly restored’ they mean turned into a cartoony, micro-transaction driven heap of code – then yes, this is VERY lovingly restored.

The site itself has little information on the game, but the information it does care to impart details two classes; The Fighter (“Fighters are one-man armies, trained to engage multiple opponents with a wide variety of attacks”) and The Mage (“With a staff in hand and a spell on their lips, Mages are ready to engage in battle from afar. Use your magical know how to vanquish enemies and assist your allies.”).

Aside from that, the only other bits and pieces of note that are shown is art of the series’ infamous Gypsy character (presumably meaning that you’ll have to do the eight questions of morality shtick when you first generate your character to ascertain what a complete bastard you are) and a map of the world of Britannia which bears more than a passing resemblance to the map used in the antiquated (yet thoroughly fucking awesome when it originally launched) Ultima MMORPG, Ultima Online.

The Ultima series has long been credited as being one of the finest examples of the Western RPG.  First beginning with Ultima I, which was released on the humble Apple II home computer back in June of 1981, the series went on to span many instalments and was lauded for it’s alignment and moral systems that were introduced in later instalments such as Ultima IV and V.  The Ultima series has also served as an inspiration of sorts for a number of high-profile RPG’s and JRPG’s.  Indeed, Ultima III would inspire the developers behind premier JRPG Dragon Quest and the developer of that hugely popular franchise credit the Ultima series with opening their eyes to the creation of large, epic and open-world adventures with complex stories and interesting characters.

The brainchild of eccentric, yet brilliant software designer Richard Garriott, the Ultima IP was left with EA when he broke ties with them after the launch of Ultima Online.    Needless to say, ol’ Dicky Garriott won’t be a part of this project.   Instead, he’s stuck his nose to the grindstone at his new company named Portalarium who are in the midst of developing something very special indeed – their own spiritual successor to 1997’s Ultima Online, codenamed Ultimate RPG / New Britannia.

Portalarium also recently secured $7 million in funding for the project, which really can’t hurt their chances now can it?

The site is also taking beta-sign ups which will be validated through EA’s Origin service here.

I’m going to need a lot more info on this (especially pertaining to just how the cross-platform play side of things will function across PC and iPad) before I make a decision to embrace it cautiously or bombard it with vitriol, but on the face of it, the cartoony designs and free to play business model don’t exactly inspire confidence in me.  At this point i’m far more interest in what Portalarium come up with their ‘Ultimate RPG’ than this.

Written by bitsnark

July 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

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