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Killer Instinct Pin Ultimate Edition Release Moved Up October 23, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I know a lot of people can’t wait for the latest Killer Instinct game to come to the Xbox One at the console’s launch, and in anticipation of that the guys at Penny-Arcade have previously announced they are working on a Killer Instinct retail box exclusively for sale through Microsoft Stores, and they were able to push up the retail game’s release to the same day as the Xbox One’s launch.

Unfortunately, I no longer thinks this boxed game will be a good value.  The retail box will only include a download code for the game content.  No disc will be included, so you’ll still need an internet connection on your Xbox One to download it through Live.  The retail box will not offer any more game content than what you can already purchase with a direct online download.  There aren’t going to be any special behind the scenes videos, soundtracks, or exclusive DLC included with the package, just the two pins and a box with slots for more.

For a twenty dollar premium over a full-priced download of the game you get what amounts to an empty box with two collector’s pins.  Any further pins need to be purchased through the Penny-Arcade website, collected through public events which people may not be able to afford to attend, or sheer luck.  And since the Pin Ultimate Edition is only going to be able to be purchased through the very uncommon Microsoft Stores, it is highly likely that not a lot of players will be able to pick them up.  If the Pin Ultimate game box is going to be as uncommon as Penny-Arcade and Microsoft are making it out to be, who is going to care about collecting these pins at major gaming events?

So it will be coming out sooner, but the question is, is it really worth buying?

Killer Instinct Pin Ultimate Edition is coming November 22nd, 2013 exclusive to the Xbox One and only sold through Microsoft Stores.

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Pokémon Trainers Need Pokémon Bank Now October 22, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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One of the biggest developments after the announcement of Pokémon X and Y was the announcement of Pokémon Bank.  For a small yearly fee, gamers could upload all the Pokémon they’ve captured in the various Pokémon games to the internet.  It offered gamers a larger storage capacity than the sixth generation games could, and ensured that a player’s Pokémon would not be lost if they sold or traded in their games.  Nintendo also announced that they would release a small companion app for the 3DS to help gamers transfer any Pokémon captured in Pokémon Black, Pokémon WhitePokémon Black 2, and Pokémon White 2 called Poké Transporter.   Because the fifth generation games allowed you to trade Pokémon from earlier games to it (and those earlier games allowed trading with even earlier ones), with the help of the Poké Transporter a player could theoretically transfer nearly every Pokémon they’ve ever captured over six generations of games to Pokémon Bank!  Once stored in Pokémon Bank, the Pokémon can be used in X, Y, and any future generation Pokémon games.  This is of course provided the player still had their games and the hardware to play them, but it is a very strong incentive to get long-time Pokémon players to sign up for the service.

I spoke to a Pokémon Trainer today who had been collecting Pokémon since the release of Pokémon Emerald on the Game Boy Advance, and he was frustrated that there currently was no way to bring any of the Pokémon he already captured in the earlier games to his new game.  Nintendo has made it clear that players are not allowed to trade Pokémon from earlier Pokémon games directly to X or Y, so the only way you will be able to bring your Pokémon to the games is with Pokémon Bank and the Poké Transporter app, even though earlier games allowed it.  Nintendo says this is the case because they can’t allow sixth generation exclusive Pokémon to end up in earlier Pokémon games, it could break something.

With the ability to trade your Pokémon from earlier games missing from X and Y, the only way to get your Pokémon into the new game is through Pokémon Bank.  The problem is Pokémon Bank won’t get its official release until December, and Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are out now.  I’m sure there are many Pokémon X and Y players who are also frustrated about this.  Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are designed around the ability to use the Pokémon Bank to collect and store Pokémon, but since the service is currently not active, it cannot be used.    It would have been nice if Pokémon Bank launched on the same day as the sixth generation games, but alas it was not to be.  Hopefully Nintendo is taking the time to work out all the bugs before launching the service to ensure a smooth rollout.

Pokémon Bank launches in December 2013 to the Nintendo 3DS.  The fee to join is $4.99 US per year, but there will be a free 30-day trial period for Pokémon Trainers interested in testing the system out first before signing up for it.

Why Doesn’t Sony Remove HDCP For Playstation 3 Gameplay? October 20, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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I know I waited a bit longer that I should have to start doing direct gameplay capturing on this site, but that was because I was waiting for capture devices to come to the market that could capture 1080p gameplay through HDMI and that has only been possible in the past year.  Earlier in the summer, I picked up an AverMedia Live Gamer Portable capture device for the site and I love the thing.  It can capture HD video game streams to either a PC or Class 10 SDHC memory device through either an analog or digital connection.  It works well on my Xbox 360 and Wii U, as all I need to do is plug a HDMI cable directly into it from my console, and I can capture all the game footage I want in crystal clear 1080p at thirty frames.  Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my Playstation 3, and it’s because of a decision that Sony made at the beginning of the PS3’s development and sadly still has not rectified.

My one issue with my capture device is it cannot capture PS3 footage through HDMI.  In fact, no game capture device currently on the market can capture PS3 footage through HDMI.  That is because the Playstation 3 uses HDCP encryption on all content coming out of its HDMI connection.  Because of that encryption, no footage at all can legally be captured through HDMI on the Playstation 3, forcing me to capture gameplay footage through a lower quality analog connection.  And yes, an analog feed, even if it is in HD, is lower quality than a digital one.  Just take a look at my comparison video to see for yourself.

AverMedia pleads innocent to this and has made it clear that this issue is completely Sony’s doing.  I don’t blame them, they are simply complying with the law.  It is highly likely that Sony chose to completely encrypt all of the PS3’s HDMI content to prevent PS3 owners from copying High-Definition video streams from Netflix or Blu-Ray movies, but if you ask me Sony took it a step further by HDCP encrypting PS3 gameplay as well.  The downside of Sony’s decision to encrypt gameplay with HDCP is that any review sites who do side by side comparison videos taken between multiplatform games will not have the best possible video source on the Playstation 3 as they would on Xbox 360 or Wii U, throwing off the reliability of comparison videos.  Granted, most video game review sites have captured all of their HD content through analog connections up to this point, so this hasn’t been much of an issue until recently.  Because an analog signal doesn’t have as high a picture quality as a digital one, gamers will see artifacting from the capture device that they wouldn’t normally see if they had used a digital connection even if both consoles were captured at the exact same resolution.

I have talked about my issues with HDCP in my HDCP History article, but I understand the need to have it active while watching a Blu-Ray Disc or Netflix.  I don’t understand why Sony enables HDCP during gameplay.  The Xbox 360 and Wii U do not HDCP encrypt their HDMI game streams.  On top of that, if HDCP is such an essential feature of the Playstation 3, why aren’t the Playstation 4 or Xbox One going to encrypt their gameplay footage?  In fact, the PS4 and Xbox One will ship with built-in live game streaming and game DVR features right out of the box, all of which can be made more useful for users that have separate capture devices.

I think the plan was that the PS4 would encrypt their HDMI stream and force players to use only the PS4’s supplied features to stream or record gameplay.  Sony bowed down from that decision after a lot of media pressure, and the fact that the Xbox One would not be doing it.  We don’t know yet if HDCP encryption will be removed from the PS4 at launch, or will be removed with a Day One firmware update, but Sony has confirmed that it will be removed.  The press was very happy about this development and gave Sony props for changing their minds.  My question is if it was so unpopular on consoles that aren’t even out yet, and it can be removed with a patch or system update, why doesn’t Sony go one step further and do the same thing on the PS3?

We live in a time when everyone wants to be able to have the opportunity to record their gameplay sessions and share it with others.  There are tons of popular Let’s Plays across the internet, and more are being uploaded every day.  The Playstation 4 and Xbox One will ship with internal DVRs so gameplay can be recorded and streamed without the need of a separate capture device, but an external capture device offers a lot more flexibility on game captures, particularly for longer gaming sessions.  There is no reason to encrypt PS3 gameplay, Sony, and tons of reasons why you shouldn’t.  You’re not going to have it on the Playstation 4, remove it from the Playstation 3.  All you’re doing is forcing players to use a lower quality connection to capture footage from your games, making them look in a lower quality than they otherwise would have.

UPDATE:  Since writing this article, the PS4 has been released and Sony has not removed the HDCP encryption from the console’s HDMI game stream, even though they had promised they would before launching the console.  While Sony has not changed their intent to remove this stupid hindrance to recording gameplay, as of the time of this writing the PS4 is still HDCP locked, and it was not removed with the PS4’s Day One 1.5 firmware update.  Meanwhile the Wii U and Xbox One are also out and have no HDCP encryption on their HDMI outputs, permitting their users to record their gameplay digitally to their heart’s content.

I really am struggling to understand Sony’s decision to launch the PS4 with HDCP encryption and not remove it with the Day One firmware update when all of their direct competitors have no such hindrance in place since the day their products hit shelves.

Deadly Premonition PC Release Date October 18, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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PC owners hoping for the chance to finally play the cult classic Deadly Premonition have had their wishes granted. The game is officially coming to the PC with entirely new features not seen on any other version of the game currently released.

Directed by Swery65, Deadly Premonition tells the story of Agent Francis York Morgan as he tries to uncover the identity of a serial killer operating in the quiet mountain town of Greenvale.

Deadly Premonition is coming October 29th, 2013 to the PC through Steam. It is already out now on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Killer Instinct Pin Ultimate Edition Announced October 16, 2013

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Those of you who were hoping that Killer Instinct on the Xbox One would get a retail release officially have your wishes granted, but it’ll be coming exclusively to Microsoft Stores.

The Killer Instinct Pin Ultimate Edition will include a full version of the Killer Instinct Xbox One game and a season one pass which will unlock all the characters, costumes and accessories offered for the game before anyone else!  It will also feature a port of the original Killer Instinct arcade game, so you can play the original version on the Xbox One.

But that’s not all.  The Pin Ultimate Edition will also include two Killer Instinct collector’s pins, and spaces for many more that Microsoft has planned to release.  Details are scarce on how these other collector’s pins will get released into the wild, but there are a lot of possibilities including PAX Promotions, tournaments, and giveaways.

You can read all the details on the Killer Instinct Pin Ultimate Edition here.

Killer Instinct Pin Ultimate Edition is coming November 28th, 2013 exclusive to the Xbox One.

Halo 3 Free on Xbox Live Games With Gold October 16, 2013

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Xbox Live’s Games With Gold promotion continues in the second half of the month of October.  If you happen to currently be an Xbox Live Gold Subscriber, you are entitled to download a new free game on the first and sixteenth of each month up until the end of the year.  It’s a great promotion in that unlike games offered for free to Playstation Plus users, you won’t lose access to anything you downloaded through Games With Gold if your Xbox Live Gold Membership ever runs out.

Starting today, Halo 3 will be free to download through Xbox Live Games on Demand until the end of the month.  The game has a great single-player campaign, which wraps up the story of the Halo Trilogy and finishes the story left hanging at the end of Halo 2.  It also supports four-player cooperative play through LAN or Xbox Live, and two-player cooperative play through split-screen.  In my opinion, it’s not the best game in the series, but it is a must-play for any Halo fan.

If you happen to be interested in any of the game’s multiplayer map packs, just be aware that only two of the game’s map packs are currently free, the others are on sale for about $4.99 US each.  However, you may not need to download all of these map packs if you don’t want to, as all of the bonus map packs (free and paid) are included on the multiplayer disc of Halo 3 ODST.  So, if you happen to have a copy of Halo 3 ODST already, there’s no reason to purchase any of these map packs.

After this month, we have no idea what will be coming next to the service, but Microsoft has promised it will continue until the end of the year.

Pokemon X and Y Preorder Posters Close-Up October 15, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Pokémon X and Y, the sixth generation Pokémon games, and the first Pokémon generation games released to the 3DS, was released on Saturday.  Nintendo provided two exclusive posters to Pokémon Trainers who preordered the game at North American GameStop stores.  One was given to anyone who preordered X or Y, and was dual sided.  The other poster was only given to players who preordered both games and featured a Pokémon game timeline.

Were they worth the preorder and what went to other regions?  Lets take a look.

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are out now exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS.

The Last of Us Patch 1.05 Notes October 15, 2013

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A major update for The Last of Us is on its way, and instead of releasing a simple text blurb about what changes are coming to the PS3-exclusive, Sony has released an entire video detailing all the changes that are coming to the game.

The Last of Us is out now exclusive to the Playstation 3.

Watch_Dogs Delayed to 2014 October 15, 2013

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For me personally, there is no more higher anticipated game coming out of UbiSoft than their open world cyberpunk adventure Watch_Dogs.  First announced at E3 2012, the game puts you in the role of a hacker who has complete control over the automated surveillance systems of Chicago.  The game was expected to launch on multiple platforms next month and be a launch title for the future consoles Xbox One and Playstation 4, but now Ubisoft is saying that the game needs to be delayed until 2014 in order to give it much-needed polish.

Perhaps this is all for the best.  November was looking really crowded with no less than two major consoles getting released.  I can think of a lot of players, myself included, who had a lot of reservations about picking up this game on the current consoles with the next ones coming out at around the same time.  The console makers were also doing their best to cry out which version of the game would be the best.  Sony did say they would offer exclusive content for the Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 versions of the games, and on top of that, only the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game would have Collector’s Editions.

Watch_Dogs is coming to the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PC, and Wii U in 2014.

Kingdom Hearts III D23 Expo Gameplay Footage October 15, 2013

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Those of you who may be still reeling from the Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX Announcement, brace yourselves.  Disney has released the first official gameplay footage from Kingdom Hearts III since the game was first announced at E3 this year.  It looks to me like Sora, Donald and Goofy will be headed back to fight the heartless again in Twilight Town.

Kingdom Hearts III is coming to the Xbox One and Playstation 4.