PS2J 275 News – Bushel of Apple

Security alert

  • Google’s October 2019 Android security fix is here for the majority of Android devices and has a fix for a major vulnerability present on a bunch of different phones
    • The bug allows a hacker to remotely root and take complete control of the device if an infected app has been installed or if a Chrome-based loophole is used
    • If you have an Android device you should go into your Settings app and search for System Update to download and install it as soon as possible

Free games

  • Epic Games

    • Surviving Mars

      • 2018
      • City building simulation from the developers of the Tropico series modeled after real Martian data that has you building a colony on Mars by manufacturing resources and constructing buildings to ensure the survival of the colonists

Apple’s under fire this week for their wishy-washy capitulation to the Chinese government during the Hong Kong protests

  • Most of the controversy, involving Apple at least, revolves around an app called HKMap.Live that allows users to flag locations on a map. It’s being used to warn the public about things like concentrations of riot police, tear gas, and zones that are currently being locked down
    • According to people within Hong Kong, tear gas is routinely being deployed without warning in densely populated neighbourhoods just because the cops were being verbally taunted, and the police are firing bean bag rounds without warning at people that, for example, walk out of a subway station in a locked-down area
  • It originally hit headlines because Apple rejected the app, saying that it facilitates, enables, and encourages the evasion of law enforcement. Which is no more true that being able to flag speedtraps on Waze- it’s not like the app has GPS on every cop in the region
  • The app eventually did get approved and released, so people chalked it up to an overzealous App Store reviewer and left it at that
  • Then Apple came under fire in the Chinese state media, being accused of protecting “rioters” and enabling illegal behaviour
    • Interestingly enough, the same story made no mention of the fact that it’s also a web app and available on the Google Play store- it completely targeted Apple
  • In response to those stories, and presumably pressure from Chinese officials, Apple then removed the app from the App Store citing claims that it was used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and that criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement.
    • They went on to say that the app violates Apple guidlines and local laws, but despite many inquiries neither Apple nor Chinese officials seem to be able to point those laws out
      • The Secretary for Transport and Housing laid the decision solely at Apple’s feet, saying to ask them for the reasons why
      • Tim Cook released a company-wide email talking about the situation, but still didn’t or couldn’t back up the claims that it was used to target individual officers for violence, or to victimize people or property where no police were present. And no one at any point has said what local laws in Hong Kong this app is violating.
  • At this point the app remains available Google Play and its webapp, and anyone that already installed it on their iDevices can still use it, but it’s not available for purchase or download any longer
  • For all Tim Cook’s talk of free speech and human rights, this really seems like a failure to stand up for what’s right. They’re just 100% buckling under the pressure of the Chinese government

In related news, Blizzard is in a similar situation but they’ve 100% embraced their Chinese overlords

  • After a professional Hearthstone player declared his support for the Hong Kong protest movement Blizzard handed him a one year suspension and rescinded his $10,000 tournament prize
  • This has even caught the attention of American senators, with Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden both calling Blizzard out for the censorship
  • This is a really bad look for a company with supposed values like “Think globally” and “Every voice matters”
  • Many are boycotting Blizzard games in protest, to the point where they have basically crashed the account deletion part of the Blizzard site
    • Early reports were suspicious of them trying to prevent a mass exodus by changing the requirements (ie needing photo ID to close the account, instead of the usual authenticator, sms, email, or secret question), but further testing has shown that they’ve either backpedaled on that strategy or, more likely, gotten a little-used part of their website some more resources
      • Interesting part there is that you don’t need to send in your id to make the account in the first place, so what exactly would they be verifying?

The latest iOS may be a bit of a mess, but it at least has a couple of new privacy features to go with it

  • If you’ve already updated you might have noticed a new security prompt when using some apps, asking if you want to allow them to use Bluetooth
  • It mentions that it’s used to connect to Bluetooth accessories, which makes sense, but also says apps can use it to know when you’re nearby
  • Apparently some retailers were using bluetooth beacons to track customers that had their app open, since they previously by default had the ability to see nearby Bluetooth devices without a prompt
  • They could also learn your location if you were near a public WiFi hotspot, but Apple now has things locked down so that’s no longer possible
  • The worst part about that tracking was that it wasn’t limited to apps you might expect like Best Buy, but also things like games, flashlights, or other one-off apps from sketchy developers
  • So now with the additional prompts users can basically deny everything that doesn’t make sense, and then if they notice that actual functions within the app are affected they can look at allowing the needed access
  • The next challenge will be apps from companies like X-Mode, which get permission to collect location data by plugging in to apps that actually do need your location
    • For instance they have an earthquake alert app, which would make sense to let track your location, but buried in the ToS is language that says they can use that location data for other means
  • End of the day it looks like we still need to be conscious of what apps we’re installing, but at least now iOS lets us know if that wallpaper app you downloaded is secretly trying to get your location data

macOS Catalina is here, and because I haven’t learned my lesson from installing iOS 13 on day 1 yet we’ve got the full scoop

  • One thing to note is that they’ve drawn a line in the sand and you can no longer run 32 bit apps. That should be limited to older software, but even some newer 64 bit apps may rely on 32 bit plugins
    • There’s a free download available called Go64 that will flag the applications on your system that won’t work after the update, as well as let you know when they were last used, and it was a handy way to make sure I was ready
      • I actually found you need to delete/reinstall Steam to get the new 64 bit version, even though the Blizzard launcher updated itself smoothly
  • iTunes has been split into three separate apps- Music, TV, and Podcasts. Gone are the days of a single bloated hub for all your media, but it’s shifted iPhone and iPad syncing to an unlikely new home- Finder
    • Once your device is plugged in you should see your phone near the bottom of the navigation bar on the left side of Finder. You can click on that to see the familiar sync and update options that used to live in iTunes
    • You’ll also see an option for “Show this device when on Wi-Fi”, which you’ll need to manually enable to get WiFi sync back the way it’s been for the last few years
    • Apple notes in their support documentation that things set to sync with the cloud, like Apple Music, may not be available through the new Finder sync, possibly in a move to push more people into the iCloud and away from local syncing and backups
    • Also, despite its name, TV is the new home for all the video content including movies
  • They’ve also released Mac Catalyst, allowing developers to port iPad apps directly to macOS with the addition of multiple windows, drag/drop, and keyboard shortcuts
  • Photos has been updated with more sorting/filtering options and some automatic curation similar to Facebook, highlighting important moments like birthdays and vacations
  • Notes and Reminders have also been updated with the new iOS 13 features and finally sync properly across all your updated devices! And there was much rejoicing
  • Apple Arcade is now up on Mac in addition to iOS and AppleTV, meaning you can really take your game subscription anywhere
    • I’ve been itching to give it all a try, so expect my impressions in the coming weeks
  • Sidecar is brand new in Catalina, letting you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. You can even use your Apple Pencil to control things, giving you a solid tablet interface for your computer for things like Adobe Creative Cloud, Maya, ZBrush, and more
  • Screen Time has come to the Mac, giving you insight into how you’re spending your time and allowing you to monitor usage, schedule downtime, and set limits for apps and websites across all your devices for yourself or your family
    • You’ll even be able to set communication limits as of this spring, if you want to limit who your kids can contact at certain times of the day (or night) without blocking their ability to contact you if they need to
  • On top of all that we also got a bunch of new security features, like better encryption, activation lock for lost or stolen hardware so only you can erase and reactivate your Mac, better controls to prevent accidental overwrites of system files (I’m looking at you, Chrome update we discussed in 273), and permissions prompts before apps get access to your files, keyboard activity, or images of your screen.
    • They’ve also set up the new Find My app with a couple tweaks to help locate a missing Mac, even if it’s offline and sleeping, by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple devices in use nearby so they can then relay the location so you can find it. And it’s all encrypted end-to-end so not even Apple knows the identity of the reporting device or the location of your hardware
  • Plus some great new accessibility features that let users control their Mac, iPhone, or iPad entirely with their voice, and tools to let users with low vision adjust magnification or visiblity on the fly
  • All that is available now, free, for most Mac hardware from 2012 or later.

The internet has found a way to get official Google apps back on Huawei phones, and you definitely shouldn’t do it

  • Recently the Trump administration banned US companies from doing business with Huawei as part of the trade war between the US and China
  • This has made their latest phone, the Mate 30 Pro, the first to launch without Google apps even though it uses the Android operating system
    • So it can’t access apps like the Play Store, YouTube, Chrome, Google Assistant, and more
  • Generally this wouldn’t be a big deal- gray market distribution of Google apps is something the modding community has been doing for years, but the Mate 30 has locked down the loopholes that are normally used for devices like the Kindle Fire
  • Instead the new method is to install them through a website called Lzplay.net, which has been promoted by many major Android news sites and is very easily searchable
    • It’s easy to see why it’s so popular too- you just go to the website, install the app, hit ‘next’ a few times, and it installs a batch of Google system apps in the blink of an eye
  • Unfortunately the method it uses to do so is suspect at best and a security nightmare at worst
    • The website plugs in the Android’s Mobile Device Management framework, usually meant to give your IT department full control over a company-issued device. The goal there being that they have as much control remotely as you do physically- they can install/uninstall apps, change passwords, wipe lost or stolen devices, and all kinds of other things
    • These are permissions that should only ever be given to someone you 100% trust- I don’t even like giving that access to my employer, even though they pay my phone bill
  • The big problem here is that no one knows who or what owns Lzplay.net, so you’re essentially giving full ownership of your phone and its data to a random website registered somewhere in mainland China, which historically doesn’t sound like a great idea
  • On top of that, a lot of the write-ups and video guides out there really gloss over how it works and just how many permissions you’re granting. Almost none of them mention the fact that you’re left with this massive backdoor to your phone, and removing the app as your device administrator requires digging through a lot of settings
  • Lzplay might not do anything malicious today, but tomorrow it could fill your phone with bitcoin miners, install ransomware, or brick your phone
  • If you want more details on just how suspicious the site’s background is, like how it uses secret Huawei code and launched three days before the phone even came out, check out ArsTechnica’s article on the whole debacle

Watch out, there’s a new sneaky phone scam making the rounds that looks like one of the most credible phishing attempts out there at the moment

  • Twitter user Pieter Gunst reported that he got a call from someone claiming to be his bank, asking if he’d used his card in another city. When he said no, the caller apparently blocked the transaction and asked for his customer number to verify his identity (red flag number 1)
  • Not realizing things weren’t on the up and up quite yet Gunst gave it, and the person on the phone then said they were sending a verification PIN for him to read back (red flag number 2). He later realized the scammer was resetting his online banking password through the Forgotten Password link, and used that verification number to do so
  • The scammer then read off a few other charges to sound legitimate, now that they’d gotten access to his online statements, and after he’d confirmed he made them the scammer said they then wanted “to block the PIN on your account, so you get a fraud alert when it is used again.”, and asked for his current PIN (at this point dozens of red flags were raining from the heavens and luckily Gunst realized something was up)
  • He hung up on the scammer and called his bank’s actual fraud department, as well as his local police department to file a report on the number that called
  • Based on my experience, as well as common sense if you think about it, if the bank is calling you then they know who you are. When my card was compromised the fraud department called me, verified which charges were legit, and then cancelled/reissued my credit card without ever asking me for passwords, or my PIN
    • If you ever do get a call and they start asking weird questions or you’re at all worried about its legitimacy, let them know you want to call them back and then get the number either from the back of your card or your bank’s website (don’t use any phone numbers they give you). That way you can be sure who you’re talking to, even if you have to jump through a couple extra hoops to do so

The LEGO Group is putting old bricks to use

  • The LEGO Group announced the start of LEGO Replay.
    • This pilot program will accept old bricks, wash them and donate them to children’s non-profit charities
    • its a collaboration with Give Back Box, Teach for America, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
  • They made it easy to donate as well
    • collect any bricks, sets, lego figures you’re not using in a cardboard box
    • Vist Lego.com/replay to get a free UPS shipping label
    • Ship it, Lego takes care of the rest!
  • Your package is sent to the Give Back Box facility
    • They will sort the Lego
    • Inspect for damage
    • And clean it thouroughly
  • Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the Lego Group had this to say:
    • We know people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks
    • The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren.
    • But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or to donate their bricks
    • With replay, they have an easy option that’s both sustainable and socially impactful
  • The founder of Give Back Box, Monika Wiela, also said:
    • I am excited to join the LEGO group in this pilot program
    • Growing up in Poland, I didn’t have many toys as a child, so this collaboration is rather personal for me
    • What’s better than giving a child the gift of play?
    • For us, the number of donations we receive is critical to a successful campaign, so we’ve made it as easy as possible for folks at home to send in their idle bricks
  • Among the bricks sent out
    • There is a portion going to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for thier after-school programs
    • First shipments in November 2019.
    • Once the pilot is complete in Spring 2020, the LEGO group will evaluate a possible expansion of the program
  • LEGO replay is one of the many sustainable and philanthropic efforts the LEGO group has announced in the past year
    • Recent efforts include bricks made from plants, braille bricks and audio & braille instructions.

Josh wants to get into Streaming

Trying XSplit Gamecaster
They have a camera app that can capture just you with, I dunno, machine learning?
I want to stream Overwatch, HotS, and whatever I play. Like Sims 4, Rollercoaster Tycoon, any whatever free game I get from Alan’s free games list.

Tidbits

  • Bose has discontinued their noise-masking Sleepbuds earbuds due to battery and charging issues, and are offering full refunds as long as you put in your request by the end of the year
    • They also note that if you want to keep using them their newer Sleepbuds are less likely to see problems, and they’ll continue replacing them while supplies last
  • PS4 remote play has gotten amped up on iOS with the ability to connect your Dualshock 4 controller to iPhones and iPads
    • Previously we were stuck with on-screen controls, which aren’t great for the sheer number of buttons involved, but with an actual controller it makes remote place a lot more useful
  • Spotify has been updated on iPhone to include Siri support, and it works almost exactly how I’d hoped- you just ask it to play a song, artist, or playlist followed by “with Spotify” or “on Spotify” and it picks up the command easily
    • One annoying nitpick though, it doesn’t play nice with Siri on my watch so changing music while driving continues to be slightly more awkward than it needs to be
  • Steam has announced their Remote Play Together feature coming near the end of this month, giving a couch-coop experience online
    • The idea is that the host computer runs as if it was a local multiplayer session, split screen and all, then streams the video to your remote friends while they stream their controller inputs back

Recommend The Adventures of Ichabod and Mister Toad from 1949

  • Especially the second half, where it does a full Disney take on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow narrated and voiced by Bing Crosby
  • It’s charming and just a real treat in the fall season to hear more of Bing not limited to Christmas carols, and it’s a solid delivery of the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman
  • Plus as a bonus you also get The Wind in the Willows, narrated by Basil Rathbone, which is another excellent example of Disney animation at its finest
  • Each segment is about half an hour, which leaves neither of them feeling padded or cut short. Just the right amount of two great Disney films

Literally Misleading

Last Week:

Movie – A typical cowboy saves the princess tale.  (Shanghai Noon, Movie)

This Week:

Game – Sadistic architect values efficiency over safety.

 

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PS2J 273 News – My Glasses Are Vibrating

Free games

  • Xbox

    • Tembo the Badass Elephant

      • 2015
      • 2D side-scrolling platformer that has Tembo smashing and stomping his way through enemy structures and vehicles, and solve puzzles using his trunk to progress
    • Friday the 13th: The Game

      • 2017
      • Asymmetric survival horror game based on the film franchise, pitting up to seven counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake against Jason Voorhees in a semi open world fight to escape
    • Disney’s Bolt

      • 2008
      • Based on the movie of the same name, you play as Bolt the superdog going on various missions using your powers to take down enemies and make it through the levels
    • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

      • 2013 re-release of the 2012 WiiU title
      • Punishingly difficult action-adventure game from Team Ninja that has you jumping, climbing, fighting, and assassinating
      • Razor’s Edge is an enhanced release of the original NG3, in line with the Sigma games, taking a lot of cues from Ninja Gaiden 2
  • PS4

    • MLB: The Show 19

      • 2019
      • Baseball sim that’s the 14th in the The Show franchise, bringing new features to let players relive and recreate famous moments in MLB history
    • The Last Of Us Remastered

      • 2014 remaster of the 2013 title
      • Action adventure third person shooter by Naughty Dog that has you escorting a teenage girl across a post-zombie apocalypse United States where survivors have managed to make ends meet, it’s earned a lot of praise for not just its gameplay but also its characterization and storytelling
      • The remaster brings graphical improvements, a higher framerate, and some new features to take advantage of the PS4’s controller’s touchpad and lights
  • Epic

    • Everything

      • 2017
      • A simulation game where you have the ability to explore a procedurally generated universe and control various objects within it, exploring and changing while quotes from philosopher Alan Watts are played
    • Metro 2033 Redux

      • 2014
      • Post-apocalyptic first person shooter that turned the Earth’s surface into a poisonous wasteland, and has the survivors living in a new dark age, populating the depths of the Moscow underground

Google managed to push a Chrome update recently that could make your Mac completely unbootable

  • Apparently the automatic update was released including a bug that damaged the file system on macOS machines that have the built-in System Integrity Protection disabled (or any versions before 10.11 El Capitan, where SIP was first introduced), deleting an important file at the root of the startup drive
  • Google has since paused the release until they address the problem, but this raises a bigger question- why is a web browser’s software updater doing anything at the root level?
    • Daring Fireball put it nicely- “This is like hiring someone to wash your windows and finding out they damaged the foundation of your house.”
  • End of the day unless you have a really good reason you should probably leave SIP turned on, since this is the exact kind of problem it was introduced to prevent
  • If you’re a Chrome user on Mac you should check out the blogpost on MrMacintosh.com (https://mrmacintosh.com/google-chrome-keystone-is-modifying-var-symlink-on-non-sip-macs-causing-boot-issues/) for steps on how to see if you’re affected and how to fix it.
    • Above all, do not logout, shutdown, or restart your Mac before running the repair if you’re affected. You’ll have to boot into recovery to fix the problem introduced by Chrome

Sony’s Nintendo Direct-style State Of Play livestream hit again this week, so here’s some of the highlights courtesy of Kotaku:

  • The Last Of Us Part II is coming February 21st
  • A demo of the MediEvil remake is available today, and you can get a special item in the full game by playing it
  • A limited-edition Death Stranding PS4 Pro bundle is hitting November 8th, with a pretty cool dripping-handprint design
  • Wattam, the next game from the creator of Katamari Damacy, is coming this December
  • L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is available now for PSVR
  • Civilization 6 is coming to the console on November 22nd

iOS 13.1 is here! Already! Because for some reason we needed a new version 5 days after the previous release!

  • Before we get into the new features, it comes with a BIG security warning for everyone: the new iOS has a flaw that enables third-party keyboards to get full access to your device even if you haven’t approved it
    • Full access means that they keyboard isn’t just a standalone piece of software and can provide additional features through network access, meaning that they could theoretically send what you type over the internet to another system
    • The problem apparently doesn’t affect the official built-in keyboard, but the exploit is currently public and Apple has yet to find a fix so be very, very careful when using iOS keyboard replacement apps
    • On the plus side, iOS 13 added some new features like swipe-typing that users previously needed third-party apps for, so fewer people will need those keyboards going forward
    • You can check out Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards to see what you currently have installed. If in doubt, it’s definitely worth deleting them
  • So, on to the new stuff!
    • iPadOS is officially here, bringing more multitasking abilities like having the same app open twice, improved browsing in Safari, and a bunch of other tablet-exclusive features to the iPad
      • It also has an updated home screen to take advantage of the extra space, instead of just showing a big grid of apps
    • We’ve also got tvOS 13, updating the home screen to make it easier to discover new content, a new picture-in-picture mode to let you watch videos while using a different app or adjusting settings, and supporting multiple users for the first time
      • It also supports Xbox One and PS4 controllers, alongside the new Apple Arcade service which gives you unlimited gaming for $5-6 /month
    • Share ETA is now more powerful, automatically updating selected contacts if your travel time changes
    • There’s a new lyrics view in Apple Music that follows along with your music, turning your iPhone into a karaoke machine
    • You can now temporarily pair two sets of Airpods or Beats headphones (anything with an H1 or W1 chip) to your phone to share audio with a friend
    • And the Shortcuts app is getting even more powerful, with automatic triggers based on things like location or time of day now available
  • Overall it’s a solid improvement over iOS 13, also fixing a bunch of things like the email issue I mentioned in the last episode, with the only caveat being “be careful with third party keyboard apps”

Amazon has announced a whole bunch of new hardware including Echo devices and more

  • Among the announced devices are an Echo Dot with a built-in digital clock, and a high-end Echo Studio set to compete with the HomePod for giving you audio optimized to whatever room it’s located in
  • They also updated their line of Echo Show devices, including screens with HD resolutions, and announced the Echo Glow, a multicolour smart lamp that works with your Alexa devices
  • And now Alexa can live in your glasses with the Echo Frames, that has directional microphones and vibration motors on your face meant to connect to your phone on the go. This is a weird one, since it doesn’t really do anything that headphones don’t already while being more limited in other ways
  • Finally, Amazon’s released their Airpod-competing Echo Buds- truly wireless earbuds with 5 hour battery life and up to 20 hours with the included charging case
  • One funny part of the whole announcement came with Amazon executive Dave Limp being interviewed by Bloomberg about the new products while clearly wearing an AirPod instead of the new Echo Buds
    • It’s right up there with Samsung promotional tweets marked with “via Twitter for iPhone”

Google Assistant coming to Xbox

Currently in Beta, I was not able to get it working between getting home and starting the show

Tidbits

  • Google launched their Apple Arcade competitor, Play Pass, this week; a subscription app service for $5-6 /month
    • Contrary to Apple’s strategy of being the only mobile source for their games and providing brand new content, Play Pass includes many existing apps like Stardew Valley, KOTOR, and AccuWeather, so though they get to launch with a larger library it somewhat seems like more of a subscription ad removal system than something really comparable to Apple Arcade
  • Activision is under fire this week after a leak came out saying that Modern Warfare lootboxes won’t be just cosmetic
    • Supply drops will apparently include weapon unlocks alongside filler content like emotes and sprays
    • They’ve also announced that PS4 players will have exclusive access to Survival Mode until October 2020, which has a lot of people cancelling their preorders
  • Bandai Namco is holding a blood drive with the American Red Cross during Twitchcon this week, gifting a free copy of Code Vein and a “promo blood kit” for everyone that donates
  • Continuing the mess that is Fallout 76’s merchandising (the terrible collector’s edition bag, the disappointing Nuka rum), the Nuka Cola branded power armour helmet is being recalled due to the lining containing dangerous levels of mold, posing a risk of respiratory or other infections
    • Good news, apparently though there were 20,000 produced for sale in GameStop stores, the manufacturer has stated that only 32 were sold

Alan recommends Mario Kart Tour

  • Nintendo’s latest mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, released this week on iPhone and it’s pretty fun!
  • There are definitely some freemium aspects to it, with a couple different currencies and gatchapon-mechanics to get new drivers and karts (spend the freemium currency to launch a random thing out of a pipe)
    • One extra piece to file under “bold choice” is their $5 monthly subscription, which nets you access to exclusive characters, extra bonuses, and the 200cc mode (the fastest in the game)
    • Considering that costs more than Nintendo Switch Online, which gets you access to a bunch of free games, it’s a hard piece to justify
  • The steering is also a little strange, with the two main options being either swipe to steer or swipe to drift
    • There’s also an option for gyroscope steering, but in practice I found that it just messed me up
    • Swipe to drift seems to be the pro option, and you just need to hold your drift and adjust your swipe to get around different angles and corners
  • On the plus side of things it looks like the gatchapon mechanics aren’t a core pay-to-win feature, with different courses giving bonuses to different drivers each time
  • They also didn’t put in an energy system, so you can race as much as you like.
  • Overall it’s a fun game that I wish didn’t have microtransactions, but it seems like they’ll be easy to avoid going forward

Literally Misleading

Last week:
Game – A hard working lady is stuck going back and forth to clean up the trash. (Super Metroid)
This week:
Movie – A man led astray by his employer takes out his frustration on his family.

 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Zane, for supporting us and Podzilla.

And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Twitch

    • Yoku’s Island Express

      • 2018
      • Side-scrolling Metroidvania platformer where you can only jump by using pinball paddles to push a ball that drags your character behind, in an open world with many bumpers, tracks, and ramps for different pinball mechanics
    • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones

      • 2015
      • 2D puzzle platform stealth game that has you taking control of multiple clones to explore the facility in which you were born
    • Chicken Assassin: Reloaded

      • 2016
      • An RPG beat-em-up that plays like a clicker- you can upgrade your stats, weaponry, and equipment, then mash buttons to beat up the bad guys and get your girl back
    • Manual Samuel

      • 2016
      • 2D adventure sidescroller where you try to make it through a normal day performing all your bodily functions completely manually, a la QWOP
  • Epic

    • Conarium

      • 2017
      • Lovecraftian horror adventure game inspired by At The Mountains of Madness, that has you exploring an Antarctic base to discover the fate of your expedition through notes, journals, and and strange visions

Apple’s By Innovation Only event was this week, and here are some of the highlights:

  • Apple Arcade looks fairly solid and will only cost $5 a month with full family sharing. None of the games will include in-app purchases, and they’re all exclusive to Apple Arcade on mobile
    • The big standout for me was Sayonara Wild Hearts, a neon rhythm racing game with a ton of style, that’s also coming to Switch and PS4
  • Apple TV+ is also hitting for $5 a month, which makes competing services look pretty expensive by comparison, but the content is slowly coming together
    • Netflix and Amazon Prime are a fair bit more with a ton of back catalog, and Disney+ is only slightly more expensive with their huge vault of works
    • One interesting note though, every Apple device sold from now on will come with a free year of Apple TV+. Whether that means only the first time or every single purchase remains to be seen
  • There’s a new entry-level iPad model that works as an updated alternative to the fancy iPad Pro
  • The Apple Watch Series 5 will officially have an always-on display, with the screen staying dim until you raise it, and apparently the exact same battery life as current models
    • They’re also bringing in more case materials like ceramic and titanium
    • And the Series 3 seems to be the new budget model, with the Series 4 being completely replaced
  • And, of course, the iPhone
    • We’ve got three new iPhones:
      • iPhone 11, which is the updated iPhone XR, has the same liquid retina display with a ton of new guts to make it even faster than before
        • They’ve also tweaked the dual camera system on the back to use a standard and ultra-wide angle lens, instead of the old telephoto, so they can use their computational photography to work with even more information
          • It also allows them to finally have a Night Mode, which Google’s been rocking for about a year now
          • The new camera system does come with a gigantic square camera bump, which leaves many wondering why not make the whole device the same thickness and add more battery life (though they did manage to add an additional hour, which is nothing to sneeze at)
      • Then the iPhone 11 Pro, the new OLED model replacing the XS, with a very fancy super duper crazy bright and accurate fancy display ™
        • It also comes in a new color, midnight green, that feels Boba Fett-esque. Pretty slick
        • For the most part it’s got the same new fancy guts as the iPhone 11, but in addition it’s got a third lens to keep the telephoto in play with the other two.
          • Apparently it will use a feature called Deep Fusion to fuse 9 separate exposures with the combined lenses into a single image
        • It’s also got slightly faster cellular data, which is kind of whatever at this point. It gets to a point where the speed gains become less and less noticeable
        • Unfortunately this model is also killing my baby- 3D touch is dead, replaced by haptic touch
          • 3D touch was brilliant, where you could press slightly harder on the screen to do things like get shortcuts or move your cursor around with your thumb on the keyboard, but required an extra suite of sensors under the display
          • Instead all the Pro models have the same Haptic touch brought to us originally in the XR because the display just didn’t work with the tech- you just do a long press, and the haptics give you a light tap on the thumb. So it’s a glorified long press, which we’ve had pretty much the whole time anyway
        • All this comes alongside 4-5 more hours of battery life for the base and Max models, respectively, which is bonkers year-over-year improvement while adding more tech
      • This year’s iPhones also bring a new chip for ultra wideband technology, leading many to think that their Tile competitor is coming soon since that would allow for much more accurate location tracking of devices
        • One demo found inside the new iOS files has the ability to look around your room for a red balloon, then follow the string to the missing device
 

Awesome looking game that’s got about a month left on Kickstarter, called Savior.

Story
Savior is an open-world, action-adventure platformer, centered on rebuilding the divided planet of Arcadia. You’ll be empowered to save the people you discover from problems like hunger, superstition, tyranny and destruction. As you help the Arcadians regain their lives and thrive, you’ll earn experience, abilities, powerful tools and allies to aid you in your quest.
You play as Sam, a stranger with no possessions or memory.  As you explore, you’ll learn of your origin and place among the characters you encounter. Battle, evade and persuade your enemies to join you in rebuilding a broken world.
Combat
We wanted combat to feel as real and engaging as possible. To that end, every block, dodge and strike is clean and reactive. NPCs have attack patterns that you’ll learn over time, so fights are quick as you come to anticipate your opponent’s reactions.
  • Strike 6-Directions – Strike up, high (standing), low (crouched), down (when airborne), or behind you high and low. Hit targets all around you with ease.
  • Block – Auto-block most attacks with one button. Blocks will cost you ground and stamina. If you block exactly on the strike timing, you’ll instantly counter-attack.
  • Dodge – By crouching before a high strike or jumping just before a low strike you’ll open up a window of vulnerability in your opponent. Strike fast for a guaranteed hit!
  • Be Unconventional – When encountering an aggressor, you’ll have options. Douse them with water, intimidate them with staff spins or impress them with epic dance moves!
Parkour
Savior is an open-world game where you’re free to cover the same ground multiple times. So we’ve made simple travel as fun as possible. We’ve added a flurry of movement enhancements to make running and jumping more thrilling and varied.
  • Context-Sensitive Jumps – Jumps to walls, ledges, high targets, low targets, water, off cliffs etc. will get their own animations that flow together.
  • Wall Jump – Special gear will let you cling to walls and climb ravines like a spider monkey that sweats crazy glue.
  • Slide/Roll – Explore every crevice of Arcadia by learning to get small and round. Push down at a run and you’ll slide through your opponents legs!
  • Dash/Double Jump – Add a second boost to your jump or your run. Blast up or forward to reach new areas, just get around faster, or knock over foes.
Diplomacy
You can win opponents to your cause with your words and actions. They’ll remember encounters and build a positive or negative relationship with you. Over time you can convince them to abandon hostility and help you rebuild Arcadia.
  • Complete Quests –  Quest to gain favor, secrets, and powerful items. Plus you’ll change your surroundings in lasting ways that will make your way forward easier.
  • Choose Your Style – Talk people into joining your cause. Fight them until they relent. Or make their favorite meal or douse them in water. Get creative!
  • Debate – Part of your arsenal will be solid arguments. Only some will respond to a good argument right away, but you can plant seeds of doubt that grow over time.
  • Build Reputation – As you become known, NPCs will treat you differently. Get discounts at shops, help with quests and access to secret areas and equipment.
  You can back the project until October 10th, 2019. Then as Kickstarter does, they get the funds to work on it, or pledges are not taken.
  • They will release on Steam, but they have added Xbox One, PS4 and Switch as stretch goals. My speculation, is that those goals are to pay for the license for those platforms.

Tidbits

  • Facebook’s released their new dating service in the US, and as usual it had a ton of security and personal information pitfalls
    • If you really want to check it out, Lifehacker has a great breakdown of what information is visible to whom
  • Apparently the Galaxy Fold, that $2000 terrible phone tablet thing, is rolling out slowly around the world this month after an announcement on the 5th
    • Unfortunately it looks like Samsung is cancelling everyone’s preorders dating all the way back to April
    • They’re saying they’re revamping the entire purchase experience, along with the slow rollout, so everyone that did preorder gets $250 in store credit
  • Ironically, after Google went on about needing tracking cookies to prevent users being fingerprinted by things like fonts (we discussed in 269), Google-owned app Crashlytics has started installing fonts with a custom identifier embedded that any app can use to identify users
  • New legislation is coming to California forcing independent contractors in gig-worker roles to be treated as employees, and Uber is trying to say it doesn’t apply because drivers aren’t a core part of their business, which seems like a bold choice

Alan Recommends Philips Sonicare

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Karen, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!
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A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Microsoft

    • Hitman: The Complete First Season

      • 2016
      • Third person stealth assassination game in episodic form, taking Agent 47 all around the world to prove he is the ultimate silent assassin
    • We Were Here

      • 2017
      • Co-op puzzle game where you team up with a friend or stranger online to escape an abandoned castle, but the twist is you’re split up only able to communicate with and help eachother via walkie talkie
    • Earth Defense Force 2025

      • 2013
      • Arcade-style third person shooter that has you taking on gigantic alien insects with infinite ammo and often-ridiculous weaponry
      • More details in PS2J 238, the history of Earth Defence Force
    • Tekken Tag Tournament 2

      • 2011
      • Tournament fighting game with solid gameplay and a massive cast
  • Sony

    • Batman: Arkham Knight

      • 2015
      • Solid third-person stealth action game in the Batman universe with great combat, fun stealth takedowns, and the addition of a drivable Batmobile, all brought together by Kevin Conroy’s iconic voice
    • Darksiders 3
      • 2018
      • Action-adventure Metroidvania style game that will be familiar to fans of the first two, Darksiders 3 has you taking control of Fury, the sister to War and Death and another of the four horsemen of the apocalypse
  • Epic
    • Celeste
      • 2018
      • Platform adventure game where you have to jump, climb, and dash through each area to climb a mountain and collect strawberries
    • Inside
      • 2016
      • The spiritual successor to Limbo, Inside is another deceptively simple platformer where you control a small boy in a big, very dangerous world
 

Security warning- it’s time to delete the CamScanner app immediately

  • Security researchers at Kaspersky discovered malware in various versions of the Android app, and the iOS app has a history of not being much better despite the protections Apple has built in to their App Store process
    • The malware is set up to extract and run another piece of software that downloads more malware for whatever its creators are up to at the moment, like showing intrusive ads or signing users up for paid subscriptions
  • Lifehacker is recommending Android users switch to a better, more secure app like Adobe Scan or Microsoft Office Lens, or use the built-in scanner in the Google Drive app
    • iOS users can also use the document scanning function built in to the Notes app
 

Speaking of security, after the Siri privacy concerns we reported on back in episode 265, Apple has officially apologized and put a halt to the Siri grading program pending some serious changes

  • It looks like concerns were more founded than I thought, with Apple laying off the contractors they’d hired to review selected Siri conversations to improve the service and completely revamping the whole program later this fall
  • The changes include defaulting everyone to opt out of the recordings, allowing an optional opt-in with the ability to turn it back off at any time, and only allowing Apple employees access to the audio samples instead of using contractors
  • They’ve also released a new Siri Privacy and Grading FAQ that you can check out for more details on the upcoming program: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210558
 

The Apex Legends subreddit became an interesting place this month, with developers logging on to insult players reacting to microtransactions

  • About two weeks ago Respawn posted an apology regarding the Iron Crown event and how they locked some of their cooler skins and items behind paid lootboxes
    • For context, one event item called the Heirloom Axe costs over $200 CAD to get
    • In the future they say they’ll provide more ways to obtain items, and in the meantime they’ve made some tweaks to how the event items are being distributed
  • The comments thread then got pretty heated, as a Respawn employee started engaging with people pretty angry about the situation calling them dicks, ass-hats, and freeloaders
    • The downvotes are currently sitting at -5300, -3500, and -1000 respectively, so they’re going to have to try a lot harder to beat the Battlefront 2 “sense of pride and accomplishment” microtransaction comment with a whopping -670000
    • I’m not sure what’s going on over at EA, but it really seems like they should tone it down with both the lootboxes and the social media responses
  • This time it was handled with a lot more class though- instead of EA’s strategy of “ignore the masses”, Respawn CEO Vince Zampella publicly apologized for the discussion, saying
    • “Some of our folks crossed a line with their comments, and that’s not how we want Respawn to be represented. I apologize to any of our fans that were offended.”
    • “I will always stand behind the team here at Respawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments aimed at their families and loved ones,” he continued. “But we shouldn’t contribute to it when we do comment, and add to the very thing we want to prevent. Last week we didn’t do that, going forward we will be better. Having an open, healthy relationship with our community is incredibly important to all of us at Respawn.”
  • All in all it’s a pretty classy response to a bad situation, taking responsibility without throwing anyone under the bus
 

An attempt is being made to bring Telltale Games back from the dead, though with very few of its original parts

  • All the assets were purchased by LCG Entertainment, and the new Telltale will sell some of the back catalog as well as work on new games based on some old associated properties as well as new licenses
  • Apparently some workers from Telltale Classic will be offered freelance roles with a possibility for full-time in the future, but it looks like LCG wants to make a fairly clear distinction between that company and New Telltale
  • It’s been confirmed that New Telltale has the rights to continue The Wolf Among Us and Batman, as well as some original properties, and there are some expired licenses that they’re currently reviewing
    • Unfortunately the rights to release a game based on Stranger Things have already reverted back to Netflix, but there’s still a lot there to work with
  • Fingers crossed they can recapture the magic of early Telltale, before they overreached and started pumping out poorly managed games in a dated, hard to work with engine
 
Good news everyone, the final additions to Shovel Knight, King of Cards and a multiplayer fighting mode called Showdown, are officially coming in December
  • The game is also getting features like new body types, a they/them pronoun option, accessibility features, co-op feats, new language support, and additional cheats that apparently add whole new ways to play
    • It’s been so long since the main campaign released I’ll have to dust off my Vita and check it out this Christmas
  • There’s also a new spinoff coming called Shovel Knight Dig, following Shovel Knight in a Spelunky-type adventure through semi-randomized levels as you pursue Drill Knight and his dastardly crew to the centre of the earth
    • It’s being developed in collaboration with Nitrome, makers of games like Redungeon and Rust Bucket
    • There’s no word on a release date for Dig quite yet
 

More than a year after Zuckerberg promised a Clear History tool for Facebook it’s finally here, and it kind of works?

  • Rather than the previous claims of it deleting tracking information from your account, it just slightly limits data that is collected about you when you’re not on Facebook
    • For instance, how Facebook would present ads based on things you shopped for online
  • It doesn’t even stop the tracking, but rather disconnects it from a specific user- everything is still gathered to build a profile, it just may not be used on you in particular
    • And keep in mind, this only applies to behind-the-scenes tracking- they can still identify you if they have your email or phone number
  • And it only limits data gathering one way, from third parties into Facebook. Nothing stops Facebook from reporting back to advertisers when users purchase a product after seeing a targeted ad
  • All in all it’s kind of a garbage attempt, especially when it was first touted as working the same as as your browser’s Clear History feature- flushing the data entirely
 

In response to WebKit’s announcement that tracking cookies will be treated as a security risk, Google’s now trying to make the argument that blocking them is actually bad for privacy…?

  • For anyone not aware, a cookie is a little piece of info that websites can read and write in your web browser, to do things like keep you logged in when you leave a website, that can also be used like breadcrumbs to see what websites you visit
  • Their first point seems to be that if you block cookies then developers will find other, more secret ways to track users, like building a fingerprint based on things like what device they’re using or what fonts they have installed. Since users can’t manually clear that, it’s apparently worse
    • freedom-to-tinker.comsaid it well: “We see that our town has a pickpocketing problem. But if we crack down on pickpocketing, the pickpocketers will just switch to muggings. That would be even worse. Surely you don’t want that, do you?”
  • And their second point is that blocking cookies that target ads causes content publishers to lose ad revenue because the ads become less relevant. This was, of course, backed up by a study (read, single paragraph in a blog post) run by Google. Who I’m sure is a completely third party wait it’s the same company
    • As long as we’re comparing anecdotes, the international edition of the New York Times recently switched from tracking-based ads to contextual and geographic ads—and it didn’t experience any decrease in advertising revenue.
  • So their strategy is to block fingerprinting (which is good) and improve the classification of cookies to be more transparent about what’s being used to track you (which is kind of neutral? Because in theory any cookie could be used to track you)
 

Creature in the Well

  • A top down dungeon crawler
    • With elements of pinball
  • You play as Bot-C
    • The last of engineer of a robot collective
    • You have to save the town of Mirage from a huge sandstorm by repairing an ancient weather machine
    • But there is a strange creature that is watching you from the shadows
  • The gameplay is hack and slash
    • With puzzles influenced by pinball, breakout and other ball based games
    • You explore rooms rooms to gather energy, which you spend to open doors and upgrade your character
    • Lots of secrets, with different weapons and cosmetic items
    • The town also has citizens that can help you
    • And they coined the phrase Pin-Brawler
  • September 6 for Switch, Xbox One and Steam.
 

Indies for Switch that Josh has

  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
  • Stardew Valley
  • The Messenger
 

Josh is interested In getting

  • Cuphead
    • StudioMDHR’s astonishing Cuphead has made the jump from Xbox One/PC to Switch. The port runs wonderfully both in console and handheld mode, retaining all the glory of the 1930s cartoon art style and animations.
    • Cuphead is a challenging game, but it never comes across as unfair. Minimalistic mechanics let you focus on the task at hand — the multi-phase bosses — while enjoying all of the excellent animations and sounds.
    • Cuphead is worth playing for the art style alone, which is as impressive now as it was upon its original launch in 2017. The engaging boss fights and crisp mechanics make it a pleasure to work through, even when the going gets exceedingly tough.
  • Hyper Light Drifter
    • Hyper Light Drifter is an ode to 8-bit and 16-bit adventure games, set in a distinct world reduced to shambles. This top-down adventure features extremely challenging gameplay with a neat gimmick.
    • Your main weapon, an energy sword, has to strike enemies in order to charge your supplementary, ranged weapons. This means you have to master melee combat to have a chance against the onslaught of enemies.
    • Rounded out by a beautiful soundtrack and fantastic animations, Hyper Light Drifter is a moving experience with an understated, but powerful story.
  • Down Well
    • Downwell, a game about a man falling down a well in a park, has been available since 2015 on mobile devices. Rendered in black and white, the premise is simple: Make it to the bottom. Since you’re falling at a rapid pace, you would think you’re already ahead of the game, right? Not so fast. Avoiding obstacles, enemies, and projectiles is an arduous endeavor that forces you to think and move on the fly.
    • As a rogue-like, each time you make your descent, the layout of the well changes. With guns attached to your boots that only recharge when you touch the ground safely, it’s a constant battle between the offensive and defensive. Power-ups are rewarded at the bottom of each stage, but each level ups the challenge. Basically, no matter what you have in your arsenal, you’re always facing an uphill battle (ironic, huh?).
    • A round of Downwell can last anywhere from seconds to a handful of minutes, depending on your skill level. On Switch, it’s a perfect game for quick bursts in handheld mode. The $3 price makes Downwell a steal, but you should splurge for the Flip Grip to play Downwell comfortably with a vertical orientation.
  • Into The Breach
    • From the makers of the excellent FTL: Faster Than Light, Into the Breachsomehow manages to be Subset Games’ best outing. A turn-based tactics game, Into the Breach takes place on small grids filled with only a few units. The name of the game is survival, as losing all your units restarts the game.
    • It’s an interesting approach to the relatively well-trodden grid-based tactics genre. You can, if you choose, take out enemy units, but you must focus on protecting your power grids. Since you only have a limited number of turns, choosing where to place your units at the start of each round is key.
    • Into the Breach has so many surprising layers to it that you’ll learn new strategies even after you’ve cleared the game multiple times. It’s a near perfect turn-based strategy game that should not be missed by any fans of the genre.
 
 

Tidbits

  • A new trailer for The Mandalorian dropped this week, and it looks just fantastic
    • Strikes me as Firefly but Star Wars, and has the titular Mandalorian teaming up with IG-11 in a lot of very cool settings and situations
  • The 2015 MacBook Pro battery trouble is now having some negative effects on travellers, with many airlines banning all 15″ MacBook Pros from checked luggage regardless of the year and warning they must stay off for the duration of the flight
  • Dutch brand ZENS unveiled a wireless charging mat that can charge two devices at a time anywhere on the mat, bringing us one step closer to the cancelled Apple AirPower
    • The mat uses 16 overlapping coils to deliver the power, compared to Apple’s planned 32 coils to charge three devices, and doesn’t have the same kind of software integration, but if it sounds like something you want I hope you have $140 USD to burn. $180 USD gets you a glass version so you can see the coils and circuitry
  • A short-lived Amazon listing for an Overwatch-themed Nintendo Switch case, marked as “officially licensed by Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment”, is fuelling speculation that the team shooter is coming to the Switch sometime soon
    • Between an upcoming Nintendo Direct and Blizzcon this November, the time is definitely ripe
 

Alan recommends Archero

  • You play the Lone Archer in this roguelike dungeon crawl, choosing from randomly assorted skills each time you level up to take on bigger and more daunting challenges
  • It got some interesting gameplay, where each room has a variety of enemies either shooting or charging at you, and you have to take them down while keeping your health bar up
    • The interesting part comes in with your attack- it automatically aims and shoots but only while you aren’t moving, so you have to choose between attack and dodging at any given moment
    • And it has my favourite roguelike mechanic, where there are permanent upgrades you can unlock and level up between sessions, so that even if you’re having trouble at the moment you’re still making progress
  • It’s got some annoying F2P bits to it, but it’s been pretty easy to not drop any money on it so far and I’m about halfway through the campaign
    • They also don’t have any mandatory ads, only putting them in when you choose to continue after dying or keep playing when you’re out of energy
  • Over all I’ve been enjoying it, and it looks like there are some cool updates coming in the near future with unlockable heroes and a battlepass feature that increases the rewards you can get
 

Literally Misleading

MOVIE – After being mistaken for terrorists, protecting intellectual property is now the least of the hero’s problems.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Zane, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
 
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
 
And talk to us in the comments!
 
 
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
 
A Facebook Page exists as well.

More details have come to light about Ring’s agreement with police in the US, and it just keeps getting worse

  • We talked previously about how in exchange for promoting Ring’s video doorbells police could access a portal to show where cameras may be located and request user footage from a certain timeframe
    • Well apparently even if a user declines, police can go straight to Amazon with a request for the footage as long as it’s within 60 days and the video is in the cloud
      • An officer talking to cybersecurity site Government Technology brought out one of my favourite lines: “If you’re a good upstanding person who is doing things lawfully, nobody has concerns”
  • According to Gizmodo, another part of that deal has Ring tapping directly in to real-time 911 dispatch data, which it then uses to curate crime news for its app
    • Once a call is flagged their “in-house news team” reviews and reformats the info before pushing it as an alert to Ring users within a certain radius
  • On top of all that, documents found by Motherboard and ArsTechnica show that Ring was offering police information on who was buying their cameras through the provided subsidies, including names, emails, and home addresses
  • Bottom line here seems to be, be careful what you put in the cloud and be aware of who owns the clouds you’re using

Apple’s credit card, known as the Apple Card, is now officially available in the US

  • The Apple Card is an Apple Pay focused credit card that comes with some interesting spending tracking features, decent cash back rewards, no fees at all, and a slick white titanium physical card if you so choose
    • The card is pretty minimalistic, only showing your name, the Apple logo, and the chip and magnetic strip
      • The minimalistic card comes at a minor price though: Apple Support has already released an article talking about handling, care, and cleaning of the card that all sounds pretty unique for a credit card
        • They say to store it in a wallet, pocket, or bag made of soft materials, and to place it in a slot without touching another card to prevent scratches
          • So far not unreasonable
        • They then go on to say that it shouldn’t be kept in leather or denim, saying those fabrics may cause permanent discolouration, which kind of rules out how most of the population I’m aware of carries their cards
          • So basically if you want your shiny new Apple Card to stay shiny and new, it’s time to buy a microfiber wallet
    • If you want to see your card number, expiry date, or even previous statements and balances you need to open up the Wallet app
    • Hopefully at some point they at least open up a web interface, in case your phone is lost or stolen and you need to access that information
  • After a limited pilot now anyone with an iPhone can apply- just open up your Wallet app, tap the plus sign to add a card, and follow the prompts to sign up
  • One thing to note here is that part of the terms and conditions has you agreeing to arbitration instead of a lawsuit if something goes pear-shaped, which can often favour companies over consumers
    • If you’re worried about that it’s dead easy to opt out though.
    • After you’ve got the card set up you just open it up in Wallet, tap the ellipsis, and then Message. This will let you text the help line that you want to reject arbitration and they’ll connect you with staff who can help
  • All in all it seems kind of cool, and once it comes to Canada you can bet I’ll compare its interest rates and rewards to my existing credit cards

Samsung isn’t the only company having trouble getting a folding phone out there- Huawei is also delaying its foldable smartphone, saying it’s “unlikely to come out before November”

  • The folding Mate X was originally announced for the middle of 2019, but has had a couple of delays now likely due to the bleeding-edge tech involved in folding screens
  • The phone does look cool, with an 8″ display that folds around the front and back leaving only a 6″ display turned on when closed, but at $2,600USD I’d want something a little stronger than plastic protecting the rear display when it’s closed
SUPERHOT is officially available on Nintendo Switch, so if you haven’t played it by now you’re running out of excuses
  • It’s a fantastic, stylized first-person shooter where time only moves when you do
  • They’ve added optional gyroscope aiming and motion controls, to make things more intuitive and accessible whether you’re docked or in handheld mode
  • And it’s running at a smooth 60fps, which is basically the minimum nowadays. Maybe my eyes are spoiled, but anything lower just feels choppy

Minecraft is adding BEES!

From the official Minecraft snapshot notes:
Bee
We’re buzzing with excitement!
Can someone tell Cory to stop making bee puns now?
  • Bees are cute, fuzzy, neutral mobs
  • Don’t hurt them, they don’t want to hurt you
  • If a bee does sting you, it will leave its stinger in you and eventually die, dropping nothing 🙁
  • Bees love pretty flowers and spend their lives gathering pollen from them
  • After gathering pollen, bees fly back to their home nest
  • Bees help you by growing crops while carrying pollen back to the nest
  • Bees can be bred using flowers
  • Bees like sharing the location of their favorite flowers with other bees
  • If a bee can’t find nectar, after a while it will return home for a bit
  • If a bee doesn’t have a home nest, it will wander around until it finds one it can use
  • Bees don’t like the rain and they sleep at night. They will go back to the nest in these cases
Bee Nests/ Bee Hives
In real life, bees dance in their nests to show other bees where flowers are!
  • Bee Nests spawn naturally in Flower Forests, Plains, and Sunflower Plains biomes
  • When a bee visits this block and completes its journey undisturbed, the level of honey increases
  • Max of 5 levels of honey
  • Level 5 is quite…sticky
  • Bees use nests and hives to share flower locations with other bees
  • Sometimes bees that already know about a flower will choose not to use this information
  • Bee Hives are crafted by players using honeycomb and wood planks
  • Use a silk touch tool to get the block with the bees stored inside
  • Bee Nests will be destroyed unless you use silk touch
  • Use shears when at full honey to get honeycomb
  • Use a bottle when at full honey to get a honey bottle
  • Campfire smoke calms bees – place one underneath the nest / hive to keep them in chill mode
  • Redstone-friendly!
  • Bees like Bee Nests and Bee Hives the same amount! They don’t play favorites 🙂
  • Added the Honey Bottle!
Honey Bottle
  • Organic, gluten-free, delicious locally-farmed honey!
  • Use an empty glass bottle on a hive or nest that is full of honey to get a bottle of honey!
  • Drink it!
  • ???
  • Profit!
  • Oh yeah, also craft it into sugar!
  • Added Honeycomb!
Honeycomb
Disclaimer: Cannot be used to comb your hair
  • Shear a full-honey hive or nest to obtain
  • Craft with wood planks to create a Bee Hive
Dispenser
  • Dispensers can now fill bottles with water and honey
  • Dispensers can now shear honey combs from Bee Nests and Hives

Slay the Spire is on Gamepass!

Josh has been playing this a LOT!
And I am proud to say that I was able to Slay the Spire for the first time on this Xbox version. For fans, I did it with the Hidden. Which surprised me, because Ironclad is my favourite.
Don’t know what I’m talking about, this is the Steam Description and Features:
Slay the Spire by Mega Crit Games
We fused card games and roguelikes together to make the best single player deckbuilder we could. Craft a unique deck, encounter bizarre creatures, discover relics of immense power, and Slay the Spire!
Features
  • Dynamic Deck Building: Choose your cards wisely! Discover hundreds of cards to add to your deck with each attempt at climbing the Spire. Select cards that work together to efficiently dispatch foes and reach the top.
  • An Ever-changing Spire: Whenever you embark on a journey up the Spire, the layout differs each time. Choose a risky or safe path, face different enemies, choose different cards, discover different relics, and even fight different bosses!
  • Powerful Relics to Discover: Powerful items known as relics can be found throughout the Spire. The effects of these relics can greatly enhance your deck through powerful interactions. But beware, obtaining a relic may cost you more than just gold…

Tidbits

  • Webkit, the engine behind the Safari web browser, has announced a big new policy that’s great for consumers: user tracking will now be treated as a security exploit, and will be blocked accordingly
    • They go on to mention that no exceptions will be made, and they will block any attempts to circumvent their protections universally
  • Insomniac Games, developers of Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive, and more recently Marvel’s Spider-Man, has officially been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment
    • They’ve been developing PlayStation exclusives for years, but now that they’re an actual first-party developer for the platform it’ll be cool to see what comes next
  • The Matrix is apparently getting a fourth film, with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity
    • The movie will see Sense8 writers Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell joining Lana Wachowski in writing it, so I’m cautiously optimistic
  • It sounds like Sony and Disney failed to come to a new agreement in how to share Spider-Man, so he seems to be out of the MCU once more
    • Sony released a statement saying they hope that might change in the future, but for now it sounds like Tom Holland will have to look elsewhere for his super team

Alan Recommends The Boys on Amazon Prime Video

  • Based on the comic series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and developed for TV by Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural
  • It’s a dark comedy based in a world a lot like what I imagine what would happen if superheroes were real- they end up completely managed by a corporate PR machine, so we end up with just as many movies and tv shows but in this case they’re all marketing for real people
  • So you end up with a lot of supers that are just arrogant and corrupt people, which is why the vigilante group The Boys exists to try and keep them in check
  • It’s a solid adaptation with a lot of great differences that keep it fresh for fans of the comics while not just being changes for their own sake

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Zane, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Microsoft

    • Gears of War 4

      • 2016
      • Third person sci-fi shooter where you can team up and take on the new threat in split screen co-op with some crazy weapons (explosive drills, chainsaw guns) that’s the first in the series not developed by Epic Games
    • Torchlight

      • 2009
      • A Diablo-esque action hack-and-slash RPG dungeon crawl that has you completing quests and exploring dungeons with your pet, which starts as either a wolf dog, a lynx, or a ferret, but can be transformed into other animals by feeding it
    • Forza Motorsport 6

      • 2015
      • Realistic racing sim that introduced new gameplay elements like rain and night racing, along with a new story mode called “Stories of Motorsport”
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

      • 2010
      • Third person action RPG that has you questing to resurrect your dead wife with your trusty retractable chain whip
  • Sony

    • Wipeout Omega Collection

      • 2017
      • Racing game where you pilot anti-gravity ships around futuristic racetracks
      • Includes high-def remasters of Wipeout 2048, Wipeout HD, and the HD Fury expansion. It’s also compatible with PSVR
    • Sniper Elite 4

      • 2017
      • Tactical stealth shooter game that has you exploring levels for the perfect vantage point to snipe your enemies
  • Epic

    • Alan Wake

      • 2012
      • Action-adventure game following best-selling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance while experiencing events from the plot of his latest novel, which he can’t remember writing, coming to life
    • For Honor Standard Edition

      • 2017
      • Ubisoft’s pseudo-historical strategy fighting game, where knights, vikings, samurai, and more recently the Chinese Wu Lin faction, all face off online and fight for supremacy
  • Twitch

    • Pumped BMX Pro

      • 2019
      • The latest installment in the high adrenaline fast-paced arcade BMX physics-based trickathon
    • Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

      • 2017
      • Platform action-adventure remake of the 1989 Master System title of the same name, with gameplay reverse engineered from the original Master System code and brand new graphics and music
    • Mable & The Wood

      • 2019 from the Kickstarter launched in 2016
      • You play as Mable, a shape-shifting girl who can take the form of the creatures that she kills.
      • The strange cult that resurrected you speak of an ancient prophecy that says you will hunt down the great beasts, take their shape, and use their powers to save this dying world.
      • But what if they’re wrong? The prophecy is old, and words lose their meaning with time…
    • Automachef

      • 2019
      • A resource management puzzler where you design kitchens and program machinery for a robotic fast food tycoon who believes he’s human
 

A former Amazon employee managed to hack Capital One’s network last week, stealing sensitive data for about 106M people

  • Capital One confirmed the intrustion, saying it hit about 100M people in the US and 6M in Canada
  • Info taken included names, incomes, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, and emails.
    • In the US, social security numbers for 140T people were also taken, as well as about 80T bank account numbers
    • For Canadians, social insurance numbers for about 1M people were obtained
    • No credit card numbers or login credentials were compromised
  • Apparently the data came from credit card applications filed from 2005 until early 2019
  • On the plus side bank officials have stated that it’s unlikely the stolen data was used or widely disseminated, but they’re clearly in damage control mode so take that with a grain of salt
 

A report from The Guardian last week talked about Siri privacy concerns from an Apple contractor

  • According to this employee, conractors working on Siri regularly hear confidential medical info, drug deals, intimate moments, and other private information when reviewing audio from accidental Siri activations
    • The whistelblower went on to say that the recordings are accompanied by user data showing location, contact info, and app data
  • In response, Apple released a statement saying that a small number of anonymized Siri requests are analyzed to improve the service, accounting for less than 1% of all activations
    • The audio is linked to a randomized identifier not associated with any of your personal info
      • According to Apple’s security white paper, user voice data is saved for a six month period using that random id
      • After that, a second copy may be saved with no identifier for up to two years
    • They also said that the audio is analyzed in secure facilities and all reviewers are under strict confidentiality requirements
  • One of my favourite bits from the story is them acknowledging that Apple says the data “is used to help Siri and dictation … understand you better and recognise what you say”, but then calls them out for not explicitly stating the work is done by a human
    • You kind of have to wonder how else we’d improve how a computer interprets someone talking, other than having a someone teach it
  • It seems like there’s a pretty big discrepancy between Apple’s policies and what the contractor are saying, but considering the unsubstantiated Bloomberg story from last year about weird hacking microchips hidden in servers and Apple’s track record when it comes to privacy I’m inclined to side with Apple on this one
  • Either way, if you’re concerned about privacy you can turn off the Hey Siri feature on your iDevices and choose to activate it manually if you need it
 

Tidbits

  • Great news for Call of Duty fans and fans of console openness in general: the new Modern Warfare will feature crossplay between PC, PS4, and XBone
  • Respawn will apparently reveal a AAA VR FPS at Oculus Connect in September
    • They’ve already confirmed it’s not a Titanfall or Star Wars game, but Respawn has been a solid developer so I’m interested to see what they release
 

Recommend A League Of Their Own

  • A comedy-drama that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created to keep the sport going during World War 2
  • Stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and a ton of other great actors
  • It was even selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 2012 for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant
  • And fun fact- all of the scrapes and bruises shown on the players are actual injuries sustained during the filming- except for a single scene, no stunt doubles were used. All the actresses actually played, hit, and slid

 

Literally Misleading

GAME – With strength, speed and always moving up, three teams must work to stop the mastermind behind thier turmoil.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Zane, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
 
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
 
And talk to us in the comments!
 
 
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
 
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Sony

    • In a last-minute swap Sony changed out Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 in favour of
    • Detroit: Become Human Digital Deluxe Edition

      • 2018
      • Narrative adventure game similar in style to Heavy Rain, following three different androids in their struggles with their growing humanity, that hit some rough waters in the press with their handling of historical and thematic allegories
      • Includes Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain, Detroit digital art book and soundtrack, 2 dynamic themes, and 22 PSN avatars
    • Horizon Chase Turbo

      • 2018
      • Modern take on 90’s arcade racers like Out Run and Top Gear with stylized graphics and four-player local co-op
  • Twitch

    • For the King

      • 2017
      • A strategic RPG that blends tabletop and roguelike elements in a challenging turn-based single-player or co-op adventure that spans the procedurally generated realms
    • The Escapists

      • 2014
      • Top-down strategy game where you assume the role of a prisoner that must escape from 6 different prisons
    • Cultist Simulator

      • 2018
      • Card-based narrative-driven simulation game where you try to create a cult-like following in a nameless society with different elements like people, health, emotions, items, lore, and more
    • Yooka-Laylee

      • 2017
      • An open-world Banjo-Kazooie style platformer that’s colorful and fun, plus you can see us in the credits as backers!
  • Epic Games

    • Torchlight

      • 2009
      • This critically acclaimed Action-RPG dungeon crawl has you choosing from three powerful heroes to adventure the procedurally generated depths for endless treasure and glory.
 

Any Mac users of the video conferencing app Zoom have had an interesting time with security this week

  • Earlier in the week a substantial security issue came to light with Zoom that was apparently reported to them back in March- before they released an update on Tuesday, uninstalling the app the regular way wouldn’t actually remove it from your computer
    • By installing it you also installed a web server on your system that can be used to reinstall the app without your permission
    • So if you clicked on a meeting invite link, or even visited a compromised website, Zoom would launch you into a conference call with your webcam on by default. Even if you thought you’d removed it from your computer
    • If you wanted to remove the app from your computer entirely, it involved opening your Mac’s Terminal and running commands to kill the web server, then completely removing the hidden files it put on your computer, and finally removing it as you would any other app
  • Tuesday’s patch removed the web server, but Apple has now taken it one step further
    • Using their behind-the-scenes security systems built in to macOS, they’ve worked with Zoom to push out a silent update yesterday that takes care of removing the webserver regardless of what version of Zoom you have installed.
  • All said and done this was a bit of a mess, and highlights why installing applications on your computer willy-nilly isn’t the best idea
    • You can use your browser to join meetings instead of an app for most if not all of the major web conferencing providers, which is a lot less intrusive
 

Good news on the security front, it looks like Amazon has enabled 2FA for all accounts

  • You can enable it by going into your account settings under Login & Security and clicking on Two-Step Verification Settings
  • There are options for both using an app like Google Authenticator or Authy or using a phone number, though if you use an app it will still optionally ask for a phone number as a backup
    • Many security experts recommend using an app since text messages and phonecalls can be intercepted, though 99% of the population doesn’t need to worry about that
  • One thing to note is any legacy apps or devices trying to log in to your account will now need an extra step
    • When login first fails Amazon will send a one-time password to your phone that you need to then add to the end of your normal Amazon password
 

Nintendo’s announced their new Switch Lite, the Switch console that doesn’t switch

  • The changes include shrinking the console down a bit, with a 5.5″ screen instead of the original’s 6.2″, permanently attaching the controllers, adding a proper d-pad on the left, and removing the HD rumble, kickstand, and ability to connect to TV’s
    • Thanks to the smaller screen and a processor change the battery will get about 30 minutes longer life as well, depending on the game, even with it weighing a third less than the original
    • It comes in three colours: turquoise, grey, and yellow
  • Nintendo is planning on keeping both versions on the market, distinguishing the Lite as a portable-focused version of the switch while keeping the original around for its flexibility
    • They’ve promised that all Switch games capable of handheld-mode will work on the Lite, so you could play games like 1-2 Switch or Just Dance, but you’d have to pair additional controllers to it and find a way to prop it up
    • The surprising news from this though is they’re also keeping the 3DS/2DS consoles around as well, so we’re still not seeing them switch to a single-console focus
  • Apparently one idea for this device is a second Switch for a household that already owns one, to be more portable or give more options for people that want to play different games at the same time
    • While there’s no capability to transfer games and saves between devices, because Nintendo still adamantly refuses to look at Xbox Live or PSN for the last decade, they’ve said that is the eventual intention
  • Coming this September for $260 CAD ($200 USD)
 

The Chinese company Xiaomi is gearing up to launch their new phone, the CC9, and alongside it their new “Mimoji” avatars.

  • Now keep in mind, these are not to be confused with Apple’s Memoji. Xiaomi’s Mimoji are completely separate and distinct from that, despite them being almost identical-looking customizable 3D torso-less characters that you can pose and send to friends.
  • In a press release Xiaomi refute any claims that it’s a clone, saying that they’ve conducted internal audits and found no evidence of plagarism
    • This is of course after their Mi 8 phone last year that was nearly identical to the iPhone X, and the Airpods clone they release earlier this year
    • Unfortunately someone should have told their marketing team that, since apparently the product page for the Xiaomi CC9 showcased Apple Music Memoji ads
      • The ads were also seen on multiple e-commerce websites alongside Xiaomi’s official Mimoji graphics
      • According to their public relations general manager, staff “uploaded the wrong content” to the websites, though if they had those Apple videos so readily available and easily mistaken I’m curious what exactly their internal audit was looking for

 

YouTube is starting to fix the copyright claiming system

 
In a series of Tweets:
Lots to come w/ copyright – today we’re starting w/ a few changes: : Manual claims now require timestamps showing exactly what is claimed : Improved editing tools will easily remove manually claimed content & automatically release claims
 
More about timestamps : They’ll help you know why you got a manual claim and what part of your video to edit if you choose to make changes. Copyright owners who repeatedly fail to provide accurate data for timestamps will have their access to manual claiming revoked.
 
Updates to our editing tools for manual claims will help you:  Mute the timestamped segment of your video  Replace claimed audio w/ a song from our Audio Library  Trim out a timestamped segment altogether
 
There are more changes to come than we can count on one  for copyright – this is just the beginning! We’ll continue to share updates as our teams work to make things better for you.
 
 
 

Congrats to Cooooouk

James Downing on getting his LOZ Link to the Past 1000% Official shirt on an official Nintendo Stream
 
 

Tidbits

  • Apple has temporarily disabled the Walkie-Talkie app for Apple Watch due to an eavesdropping bug
    • According to their statement they were just made aware of the issue this week and while there are specific conditions and events that need to happen to exploit it, and they’re not aware of it being used against a customer, they’ve disabled the app until a fix can be deployed
  • In a surprise move, The Walking Dead issue #193 is apparently the final comic in the series
    • In order to disguise the end the duo behind the series, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, arranged with Image Comics to advertise three more issues to retailers
  • For $10, you can turn your copy of Starcraft Remastered into a Newgrounds Flash game
    • All the graphics were created by the YouTube channel Carbot Animations, and look goofy in the best ways
    • The official mod is available to buy from Blizzard and has been tested at an official tournament in South Korea
 

Alan recommends Hey Riddle Riddle

  • It’s a riddle podcast with fantastic energy hosted by three great improvisers: Adal Rifai, Erin Keif, and JPC
  • The riddles are fun, the weird improv scenes are hilarious, and if you’re at all decent at riddles it’s a nice ego boost to solve them before the hosts do

 

Literally Misleading

Family member Scott, adds another great one. Check out his twitter @scottybomb and his podcast The Read-Along, its a weekly book club for where you can follow along with Scott and Anita!
 
Movie – Lost in a foreign land, our protagonist must learn to communicate with the locals to help him stay out trouble, and find a way home.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Karen, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
 
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
 
And talk to us in the comments!
 
 
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
 
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games!

  • Sony

    • Pro Evolution Soccer 2019

      • 2018
      • Simulation soccer game and the only real competitor to EA Sport’s FIFA licensed franchise
    • Horizon Chase Turbo

      • 2018
      • Modern take on 90’s arcade racers like Out Run and Top Gear with stylized graphics and four-player local co-op
  • Epic Games

    • Rebel Galaxy

      • 2015
      • A space western-style trading and capital ship combat sim that has you battling pirates, exploring anomalies, befriending aliens, scavenging battle wreckage, mining asteroids, and discovering artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer
  • Twitch

    • Aegis Defenders

      • 2018
      • 2D platforming and tower defense game that was Kickstarted back in 2014, that has up to four players exploring and puzzle-solving to prepare for each level’s tower defense phase
    • Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure

      • 2016
      • A local multiplayer game that has you going head-to-head in fast-paced, hard-hitting, and sometimes (allegedly) hilariously unfair action, or going through the co-op story mode to unlock the full roster of characters
    • 10 Second Ninja X

      • 2016
      • Side-scrolling puzzle platformer where you must destroy robots through each level within 10 seconds
    • The Metronomicon

      • 2016
      • Action RPG that has you battling to the beat of the soundtrack while switching between your team of four heroes to heal, do damage, and work with status effects
 
 

Security warning for Discord users, courtesy of @splitsplatted on Twitter

  • There’s a phishing scheme going where people are receiving fake Discord server invites that will steal your account credentials
    • The fake links seem to be using very similar URL’s to the real thing- instead of discord.gg, you’ll see discordgg.ga
  • The link will take you to a forged Discord login page that will take your credentials and lock you out by changing your email and password
  • Then it’ll go through your friends, DMs, servers, and groupchats, sending the same message to more people and gaining control over more accounts
  • The best way to fight this is to spread the word, be careful what you click, and use 2FA on your account- that’ll stop it dead in its tracks
 
 

Apple has announced the launch of a voluntary recall and replacement program for the Mid-2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros this week due to battery failure and overheating issues

  • This might be related to a reddit post earlier this year that showed a MacBook Pro that overheated and caught on fire, damaging the owner’s home
  • You can check which model you’re using by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen and then clicking on About this Mac
  • If you have one of these laptops, Apple is asking you to stop using it until it can be serviced at a Genius Bar or authorized repair centre
    • The batteries will be replaced free of charge, but you could be without a laptop for 1-2 weeks
  • It’s kind of interesting that this took so long to happen though, considering that just over a year ago I was having battery and overheating issues with the same model of MacBook that led to them completely replacing the computer in question
 

Dr Disrespect, a popular Twitch streamer, got suspended from Twitch and his E3 badge revoked after streaming from inside a bathroom at the convention

  • For some reason he and his cameraperson decided to walk into a public bathroom with the camera still rolling, invading the privacy of everyone inside and breaking California laws prohibiting the use of cameras in bathrooms
  • He then walked through it and shouted “Bodyguard!” while random people, including one that appeared to be a child, used the urinals in the background
    • Other clips taken later show him re-entering the bathroom two more times and using a urinal
  • The consequences of breaking not only Twitch terms and conditions but also the law live on-stream? Apparently a two week ban, because he’s already back online
    • Even while the ban was active he didn’t seem to take it seriously, leaving it as a side note in his E3 video titled “Mishaps lead to Recaps”
  • Twitch apparently declined to comment on the situation, but it’s pretty ridiculous that they’re letting this happen with just a slap on the wrist. Clearly the money Dr Disrespect brings in for the company is more important than basic human decency
 
 
Samsung accidentally made the best argument to not buy one of their smart TV’s last week on Twitter
  • A now-deleted tweet has them telling users to “Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks”, with a video attached detailing the apparently laborious process
  • Now, this could be automated and probably should since, as The Verge points out, most people don’t even know how to change settings like motion smoothing on their TV’s, but it seems that the onus is on users to figure out to to protect themselves
  • There haven’t been any recent vulnerabilities reported, so it’s unclear why Samsung posted and then deleted the tweet, but keep in mind that back in 2017 WikiLeaks revealed a piece of CIA software called “Weeping Angel” that could turn Samsung TV’s into listening devices
  • It’s never a bad idea to scan your tech for malicious software and viruses, but the need to do so is a reminder on why you might not want a smart TV in the first place
 

CNET’s testing shows why we’re just not ready for 5G cell phones, and it might not be why you think

  • Australia is currently offering 5G connectivity to some parts of Sydney, and during a series of tests it really was lightning fast- a 2GB game download took 54 seconds, and a full movie download from Netflix took about a minute and a half
  • That said, the range is still pretty limited- coverage drops in and out within the space of a block, with speeds varying significantly, and it will take a lot of antennas to service a full city
  • The biggest problem though? Data usage. Less than half an hour in to testing they were notified that they’d reached 50% of their 20GB monthly data plan
 
 

Sega Genesis is still a Brazilian best seller!

 
Based on sales figures from 2012, there are 5 million Sega Master System consoles on the Brazilian market.
Compare that to when Sega was its most popular in the US, where it sold 3 million copies in its lifetime.
 
This is because during the Sega and Nintendo rivalry, Nintendo ignored the Brazilian market, as it was about two-thirds the size of the US market. But Sega made a licensing agreement with Tectoy, a large toy manufacture. Because of this, Nintendo piracy was high by the time Nintendo wanted in their market.
 
Tectoy was able to manufacture Master System and Mega Drives in Brazil, and continued to make updates and even new games for the console, as the gaming market had nostalgia for Sega, and not the absent Nintendo.
 
Import taxes are also keeping the console alive. For example, the launch of the PS4 in 2013, it was being sold in the US for $399, but to buy one in Brazil, the USD equivalent was $1899. And if people wanted to play games, they could pick up a Master System, with 132 built-in games for about $50.
 
Another crazy thing the Brazilian gaming market, is their version of the PlayStation 2, was produced in 2009, and the only version of the console to receive it own version of Netflix. The last generation of consoles being the PS3 and Xbox 360 are gaining ground, but current generation is hardly represented.
 
 
 
 

Nintendo is considering opening up their massive library

 
From JapanesseNintendo.com:
When asked at the 79th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders earlier today, when we can expect content from more recent past consoles such as Nintendo 64 and GameCube, Nintendo say they are looking at extending the Nintendo Switch Online service
“At this place we cannot tell new information about future classic hardware among others, but we are thinking about providing an extension of the online service which is currently providing Famicom [NES] software, as well as other methods of providing them. We also recognise that there are opinions wanting to play past titles.”
 
 
Tidbits
  • Dr Mario World, Nintendo’s latest foray into mobile freemium gaming, is coming to iOS and Android on July 10th
    • It looks like the usual Dr Mario gameplay but with stamina, a premium currency, and purchasing items all slapped on top
  • Facebook’s lawyers, in court and in a rereshing display of honesty, are saying that any legal charges of privacy invasion are invalid because the simple act of using Facebook negates any user’s expectation of privacy
  • Huawei has confirmed they’re delaying the launch of the $2600 folding tablet we talked about back in episode 239, citing concerns and a wish to be cautious after Samsung’s folding smartphone hit reviewers with a flop and a shatter
  • With no prior warning EVE Online players were shocked this week when large, powerful fleets of non-player character ships attacked and killed players throughout the game all at once, destroying many home bases permanently
    • It’ll be interesting to see what kind of expansion or in-game event this was a prelude to, and serves as a great example of the risk/reward appeal of EVE and its full economic sandbox
 
 

Alan recommends The Fisher King

  • Comedy/drama starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges
  • Tells the story of a radio shock jock who tries to find redemption by helping a man whose life he inadvertently shattered
  • Fantastic acting and a ton of heart
 

Literally Misleading

Movie – Road trip! A man and his son go on a cross country journey and traveling light, they plan to get to the beach, and hope to meet more people like them.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Karen, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
 
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
 
And talk to us in the comments!
 
 
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
 
A Facebook Page exists as well. 

Free games

  • Microsoft

    • NHL 19

      • 2018
      • Build your player from the ground up and compete against over 200 hockey greats
    • Rivals of Aether

      • 2017
      • Platform fighter that has you summoning the power of the four elements to battle your opponents and unravel the mysteries of the planet
    • Portal

      • 2007
      • Using Aperture Science’s portal technology in this first person puzzle platformer, break the laws of physics and solve brain-bending puzzles to escape the sinister laboratory you are trapped in
    • Earth Defence Force 2017

      • 2006
      • In this third person shooter with an arcade-style campaign, you’ll annihilate swarms of enemies, some 20 stories tall, using your reconnaissance, infantry, and special ops forces with all manner of weapons and vehicles at your disposal
  • Sony

    • Sonic Mania

      • 2017
      • A throwback to the 16-bit era of the Sonic franchise developed by and for fans featuring Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles
    • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

      • 2015 bundle release of Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel along with all their DLC
      • First person class-based loot-shooter with a ton of colourful style and a dark sense of humour, plus drop-in multiplayer with your friends. Borderlands 2 is great, and hey The Pre-Sequel is also here
  • Epic Games

    • City of Brass

      • 2018
      • First-person action adventure from senior BioShock developers. Armed with scimitar and a versatile whip, you’ll lash and slash, bait and trap your way to the heart of an opulent, Arabian Nights-themed metropolis – or face certain death as time runs out.
  • Twitch

    • Nintendo Switch Online- additional 9 months should be unlocking right away, as long as your Twitch Prime has been active for 60 days

Warning: Pokemon Go has a bug where if you update to iOS 12.3 Adventure Sync will stop working

  • The system that Pokemon Go uses to credit your distance walked while the app is closed has stopped working since the latest iOS update
  • Apparently Niantic has a fix in the works for the next release, but there’s no ETA yet so in the meantime iPhone users are stuck in the dark ages of keeping the app open all the time to get credit for distance walked
  • Hopefully the app will do something to retroactively reward people for the distance that has been missed, especially with their Adventure Week event happening in a few days with sizeable rewards for using Adventure Sync

Flipboard, a curated news app, emailed users this week about a sizeable security breach

  • Between June 2018 and April 2019 there was apparently unauthorized access to databases including information like usernames, emails, and encrypted passwords, and Flipboard has said that it’s possible that copies were made
  • The passwords were both salted and hashed, which not only sounds delicious but also means they’ll be hard to crack
    • Either way though, if you re-used a password for this site you’ll want to update it elsewhere
  • As as security precaution Flipboard is resetting all user passwords and replacing or deleting all tokens used to connect to services like Twitter or Facebook
  • They’ve also stated that they’re implementing enhanced security features and that law enforcement officials have been notified
  • All in all, a bad situation but handled right

Death Stranding, the upcoming adventure game from Hideo Kojima first announced three years ago, is officially coming to PS4 on November 8th

  • They’ve just dropped a great trailer with the first real solid details on the game, and it looks like a good time
  • It’ll also have asynchronous online where you can share supplies and safehouses, as well as “walk in the footsteps of fellow couriers to reunite civilization”
  • Another interesting feature: Kojima’s latest game won’t have a typical fail state. If you are defeated, you’ll re-appear in an “upside down realm” that you can escape from. “Choose your combat methods carefully, as killing your foe is almost never the solution – and every death carries a consequence”

Microsoft is putting more games on Steam

The Xbox Game pass is coming to PC
  • To open the market Xbox Games Studios games are being added to Steam
  • Releasing previously exclusive titles to the Microsoft Store
  • Age of Empires 1 to 3, Gears of War 5, headed to Steam first
Xbox Head Phil Spencer had this to say:
  • “Our intent is to make our Xbox Game Studios PC games available in multiple stores, including our own Microsoft Store on Windows, at their launch.  We believe you should have choice in where you buy your PC games,” writes Xbox head Phil Spencer.
  • “Enabling gamers to play together, through cross-platform play and cross-network play across Windows 10 PCs and console, is vitally important. Building communities across all of those players, regardless of the store or platform they’ve chosen (console or PC), is also vitally important because it helps bring players together, allows games to find their largest audience and allows gaming to deliver its true potential of uniting people around the power of play.”
  • “We know millions of PC gamers trust Steam as a great source to buy PC games and we’ve heard the feedback that PC gamers would like choice. We also know that there are other stores on PC, and we are working to enable more choice in which store you can find our Xbox Game Studios titles in the future,”
  • “When I think about the role we play as a company to support and evolve gaming on Windows, it’s critical that we make decisions that reinforce the open nature of the PC, focusing on how best to unite players on all devices around the games they love. That philosophy will guide us as we introduce new ways to discover and play games on Windows.”
Releasing on Steam, these game will be Win32 executables
  • They are free from the Universal Windows Platform wrapper
  • Now they can support new exciting things
    • The Steam Wrapper
    • Unofficial mods
  • The Microsoft Store will also be delivering the games as Win32
    • Developers get to save time by not repackaging them as UWP files
    • This change will support older DirectX tools, OpenGL and Vulkan
More on their PC Plans at their E3 press conference, June 9th.
 

Tidbits

  • A new Beat Saber music pack is coming June 10th, with a simultaneous release across all platforms
  • According to Buzzfeed News, we may be in the very early stages of a Knights of the Old Republic film
    • So far only a screenwriter is involved, no actors, directors, or producers, but this is still an exciting time to be alive
  • Apparently the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie is being delayed by three months, till Feb 14 2020, in order to rework the visual design and digital effects
    • This was announced in a tweet that used the classic cartoony Sonic silhouette as well as a hand wearing white gloves, so this could definitely be a step back towards a more classic look
  • The next Call of Duty game to be released, and the fourth in the Modern Warfare series, will be called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
    • Not to be confused with the first Modern Warfare game, which was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    • Also not to be confused with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, which was a remaster of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and not the fourth Modern Warfare title which is coming this year
 

Alan Recommends Little Shop of Horrors*

  • 1986 American rock musical comedy horror film directed by Frank Oz
  • Fantastic movie that I took way too long to watch
  • The asterisk comes from the ending- the stage play the movie is based on had a bigger, darker ending that the movie originally adapted, but then later due to test showings they went back and re-filmed it into something that fits the tone a lot more effectively
 

Literally Misleading

We’re taking a break with Alan gone. Look forward to a new description in July!
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami

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Overview and History

Because everyone can’t play everything, Assassins Creed is an action-adventure franchise. It depicts a centuries-old struggle, now and then, between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The series features historical fiction, science fiction and characters, intertwined with real-world historical events and figures.
The Assassin’s Creed games primarily revolve around the rivalry between two ancient secret societies — the Assassins and the Knights Templar — and their indirect relation to an ancient species pre-dating humanity, referred to within the games as “those who came before”, whose society, along with much of Earth’s biosphere, was destroyed by a massive solar storm thousands of years before the games. The games’ real-world chronological setting begins in the year 2012, but most of the gameplay is in historical settings.
Gameplay is broken into two different styles of play. One is first person, playing in present time. Its played in first person and you can explore your environment. Interaction with the world is minimal. Mostly observing what happens around you, and collecting evidence. The other style is what the franchise has been loved for. It’s played in a third-person perspective in an open world environment, focusing on stealth and parkour. The games use a mission structure to follow the main story, generally assigning the player to complete an assassination of public figureheads or a covert mission. Alternatively, several side missions are available, such as mapping out the expansive cities from a high perch followed by performing a “leap of faith” into a haystack below, collecting treasures hidden across the cities, exploring ruins for relics, building a brotherhood of assassins to perform other tasks, or funding the rebuilding of a city through purchasing and upgrading of shops and other features.

Assassin’s Creed – 2007

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

After completing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time near the end of 2003, Patrice Désilets (Dee-Zee-Lay) was instructed to begin work on the next Prince of Persia game, with plans for it to release on the seventh-generation consoles. However, at that time, neither Microsoft nor Sony had revealed what their next consoles would be. The initial development of the game from January 2004 was aimed as a PlayStation 2 title, following the same linear approach that The Sands of Time had taken. However, as more information came in about the capabilities of the next-generation consoles by September 2004, Désilets’ team considered expanding the Prince of Persia acrobatic gameplay into an open world which would be feasible on the newer systems.
Désilets wanted to move away from the lead character being a prince simply waiting for his reign to start, but a character that wanted to strive to be a king. He came upon one of his university books related to secret societies, and its first material related to the Assassins, and recognized that he could have the lead character in the game being the second-highest Assassin, seeking to be the leader of the group. As such, the game began work under the title Prince of Persia: Assassin, inspired by the life of Hassan-i Sabbah and making heavy use of Bartol’s novel Alamut. The assassin character was fleshed out over the course of the game’s three-year development in an iterative fashion. The team had some idea of how the character dressed from Alamut and other historical works, in all white-robes and red belt, but had to envision how to detail this in the game. One of the first concept sketches, drawn by animator Khai Nguyen suggested the concept of a bird of prey, which resonated with the team. The assassin was named Altair, meaning “bird of prey” in Arabic, and eagle imagery was used heavily in connection to the Assassins. The team did take some creative routes to meet narrative goals and avoid technical limitations of the consoles. Altair was to be a heroic character with a bit of a “badass” edge, and the artist borrowed elements of the G.I. Joe character Storm Shadow, a similarly-skilled hero. Rendering long flowing robes was impossible to do on the newer hardware, so they shorted the robe and gave it a more feathered look, resonating the “bird of prey” imagery. Similar routes were taken with other parts of the gameplay as to take liberties with accuracy as to make the game fun to play. The team wanted Altair’s parkour moves to look believable, but sacrificed realism for gameplay value, allowing the player to make maneuvers otherwise seemingly impossible in real-life. Having “leaps of faith”s from high vantage points into hay piles and using hay piles to hide from guards was a similar concept which borrowed from Hollywood films, but Désilets observed that Alamut described similar actions that the Assassins had undertaken.
To drive the story, the team had to come up with some goal that both the Assassins and Templars were searching for. Philippe Morin had suggested using the apple of Eden, which the team initially thought to be a humorous aspect for everyone fighting over an apple. However, as they researched into the game more, the team found that many medieval paintings of royalty and other leaders holding spherical objects similar to globus cruciger that represented power and control, and recognized that an artifact named the Apple of Eden would fit well into this concept.
Among this work was the idea of the Animus, which came about after the team’s decision to focus on the Assassins. The team considered that the player would travel through several different cities, and potentially recount numerous assassinations over the past thousand years, including some fantastical ones such as John F. Kennedy which would require some element of time traveling. Désilets had seen a program on DNA and human history and was inspired by the idea if DNA could store human memories, then they could have an in-game machine that could be used for time and location jumps as well as explaining other aspects of the game’s user interface to the player. Désilets considered this similar to what they had established in The Sands of Time. There, the game effectively is a story told by the Prince, and while in the game, should the player-character die, this is treated as a mistelling of the Prince’s story, allowing the player to back up and retry a segment of the game. Ubisoft’s marketing was not keen on the Animus idea, believing players would be confused and be disappointed that the game was not a true medieval experience. The game’s first trailer show at Electronic Entertainment Expo(E3) 2006 focused heavily on the medieval elements due to this. Later marketing materials closer to the game’s release hinted more directly at the science fiction elements of the game.
In contrast to Prince of Persia, where the general path that the player takes through a level is predefined, the open world approach of this game required them to create cities that felt realistic and accurate to historical information but which the player had full freedom to climb and explore. Outside of special buildings, they crafted their cities like Lego bricks, with a second pass to smooth out the shapes of the cities to help with pathfinding and other facets of the enemy artificial intelligence. To encourage the player to explore, they included the various towers that help to reveal parts of the map. Historical, these cities had such landmark towers and inspired by those, the developers incorporated them into the map, making these points of interest and challenges for players to drive them to climb them. Another factor was guiding the player and devising missions for the player that still gave the player freedom for how to approach it but still creating specific moments they wanted the player to experience. For these cases, they used simple animations developed in Adobe Flash to lay out the fundamentals of what actions they wanted, and then crafted levels and missions around those.
As they started to recognize the need for cities in this open world game, Désilets wanted to make sure they were also able to simulate large crowds, as this had been a limiting factor due to hardware limitations during the development of The Sands of Time; with the PlayStation 2hardware, they could only support having up to eight characters on screen for The Sands of Time, but the next-generation hardware was able to support up to 120 people. Having crowds in the game also led to the concept of “social stealth”, where the main character could mask themselves in the open, in addition to staying out of sight on rooftops.
Around late 2005 to early 2006, following nearly two years of development, the concept for Prince of Persia: Assassin had the game’s titular prince was AI-controlled, watched over by the player-controlled Assassin that served as the Prince’s bodyguard and rescued the Prince from various situations. Ubisoft’s management and the development had debates on this direction; Ubisoft’s management wanted another game in the Prince of Persia franchise, and was not keen on releasing a game with that name where the Prince was not the lead character. The development team counters that with a new generation of consoles, they could potentially make it a new intellectual property. Near the 2006 Game Developers Conference, Ubisoft’s marketing team came up with the idea of naming the game Assassin’s Creed, which Désilets recognized fit in perfectly with the themes they had been working on, including tying into the creed of the Assassins, “nothing is true; everything is permitted”. The prince character was dropped and the game focused solely on the assassin as the playable character.
Following the E3 2006 presentation and the name change to Assassin’s Creed, the Ubisoft Montreal team grew to support the last year of the game’s development. Added team members included those that had just finished up production on Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, as well as former staff that had recently been let go from Gameloft, another publisher owned by Ubisoft’s co-founder Michel Guillemot.
During Microsoft’s E3 2007 press conference, a demo was shown taking place in Jerusalem. Features that were demonstrated included improved crowd mechanics, the system of chasing a fleeing target, as well as deeper aspects of parkour. This was the first time when Altaïr could be heard speaking. A later showcase had a video showing an extended version of the E3 demo and included Altaïr trying to escape after his assassination of Talal the Slave Trader.
The game was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November, 2007. A pirated version of the game has been in existence since late February 2008. According to Ubisoft, a computer bug was purposely inserted into the pre-release version of the game by the publisher itself to unpredictably crash the game and prevent completion as a security measure, though players were able to use extra content available on the Internet to bypass it. The presence of the bug and performance of the pirated version of the game was believed by Ubisoft to lead to “irreparable harm” for the game and resulted in low retail sales; NPD Group reports that 40,000 copies of the PC title were sold in the United States in July, while more than 700,000 copies were illegally downloaded according to Ubisoft.
Game Informer awarded Assassin’s Creed a 9.5 out of 10, praising the control scheme, replay value, and intriguing story, but expressing frustration over the “repetitive” information gathering missions. Metacritic has an aggregate score for the PS3 and 360 versions at 81%, and 79% for the PC release. Assassin’s Creed won several awards at E3 2006. Game Critics awarded it “Best Action/Adventure Game,”: from IGN, “Best Action Game,” “PS3 Game of the Show,” “Best PS3 Action Game,” “Best PS3 Graphics”; from GameSpot and GameSpy, “Best PS3 Game of the Show”; from GameTrailers “Best of Show,” and from 1UP.com, “Best PS3 game.”

Assassin’s Creed II – 2009

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot officially confirmed that Assassin’s Creed II was in development in late November, 2008, during the company’s financial performance report. This was followed by Michael Pachter speculating in GameTrailers’ “Bonus Round” that game would change its setting to the events of the French Revolution, which turned out to be false.
The framing story is set in the 21st century and follows Desmond Miles as he relives the genetic memories of his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The main narrative takes place at the height of the Renaissance in Italy during the 15th and early 16th century. Players can explore Florence, Venice, Tuscany and Forlì as they guide Ezio on a quest for vengeance against those responsible for betraying his family.
In the game, the Auditore family’s countryside villa, located in Monteriggioni, acts as Ezio’s headquarters: the surrounding property can be upgraded, drawing income for the player’s use. There are several outlets for using currency, with vendors selling items such as medicine, poison, weapons, repairs, upgrades, paintings, and clothing dyes. When these shops are renovated, Ezio receives discounts at the shops on the goods they sell. Purchasing weaponry, armor sets, and artwork also contribute to increasing the villa’s overall worth, in turn generating more income for Monteriggioni.
The PC version of the game utilizes Ubisoft’s Uplay platform, which includes a digital rights management (DRM) system that initially required all users to remain connected to the Internet while playing. In the initial retail version, any progress made subsequent to the last checkpoint was lost if the Internet connection was severed. Ubisoft stated that if the disconnection was temporary, the game would pause. In addition, the company argued that there were numerous checkpoints spread throughout Assassin’s Creed II.
Review aggregator site Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version a score of 91 and the Xbox 360 version a 90. The PC version suffered a hit, but still a respectable 86%. At the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, Assassin’s Creed II was named Best Action Adventure Game, and IGN named it as the Action Game of the Year for Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Game of the Year.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – 2010

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

The story is set in the 21st century and features series protagonist Desmond Miles who, with the aid of a machine known as the Animus, relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. The main story takes place immediately after the plot of Assassin’s Creed II, featuring Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze in 16th century Italy and his quest to restore the Assassin order, and destroy his enemies: the Borgia family.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Montreal also worked on both of the other main Assassin’s Creed games in the series and was thus chosen to lead production for the third installment. A new Assassin’s Creed episode featuring multiplayer was announced during Ubisoft’s 2009 fiscal third-quarter results while not revealing its name. In early May 2010, a GameStop employee published on the internet some images of a pre-order box featuring the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood title while Ubisoft was teasing the game on Facebook and Twitter. Ubisoft then confirmed the authenticity of these pictures. Brotherhood has not been numbered like Assassin’s Creed II because players, and even developers themselves would have expected a new setting and a new ancestor while this is only the continuation of Ezio’s story.
The game was developed primarily by Ubisoft Montreal in Canada. Production was aided in part by four other Ubisoft developers: Annecy, Singapore, Bucharest and Québec City. The multiplayer mode is mainly developed by Ubisoft Annecy, the studio responsible for creating multiplayer mode in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Ubisoft also announced plans for downloadable content (DLC) after the game’s launch. Two sets of free DLC have already been released under the names “Animus Project Update 1.0” and “Animus Project Update 2.0”. The first includes the new map Mont Saint-Michel and one new mode, Advanced Alliance. The “Animus Project Update 2.0” was released in January 2011, was also free, and included another map, mode and the introduction of a player grading system. From the perspective of performance, Ubisoft have commented that they hope the gaps between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions will be even smaller with Brotherhood.
While still in development, creative director Patrice Désilets left before the game’s presentation at the E3 2010. Ubisoft and production manager Jean-Francois Boivin stated that he only took a “creative break” after completing his task on Brotherhood. A teaser trailer of the multiplayer mode was released on the official site before the E3. A cinematic debut trailer was diffused during Ubisoft’s E3 2010 press conference along a walkthrough of the game’s beginning. The Microsoft Windows version has Nvidia 3D Vision and multi screen support through AMD Eyefinity. It also uses Tagès copy protection, as well as Ubisoft online services platform, but doesn’t require an always-on Internet connection to play. Late November, 2010, a novelization of the game was published. The novel is a sequel to the previous novel.
The game introduces a new management system: the player can recruit new members by destroying any of twelve “Borgia towers” around Rome where papal troops are stationed and then rescuing disgruntled citizens in their districts from being harassed by guards. The player, as Ezio, can then send them to assignments around Europe or call them for support during missions (if they are not already occupied). Tasking the novice Assassins makes them gain experience, and the player is able to customize their appearance, skills, and weapon training to some degree by spending the skill points they have earned. Assassins can die on missions, from which they will not return. Ezio masters new gadgets, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s parachute, which can be used when jumping from tall buildings, along with poison darts, a faster acting poison, a crossbow, and the ability to hold and throw heavier weapons like axes.
Horses play a larger role in Brotherhood, not only used as a means of transport (inside the city for the first time) but as a component of acrobatic sequences and advanced combat as well, allowing ranged weapons to be used while riding them. Brotherhood also introduces various types of horse-related assassinations, featuring horse-to-horse assassinations. There are environmental objects like the flower pot in Assassin’s Creed II to move faster inside the city (a system of tunnels around the city allow fast travel), as well as new objects such as merchandise lifts to quickly climb up high buildings or structures.
Unlike previous installments, Desmond can leave the Animus at almost any time. This allows Desmond to explore the present-day town of Monteriggioni. The player is also offered virtual training, a mini-game where the player may test their free-running or combat skills.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the first game in the main series to feature a multiplayer mode. The players are Templars in training at the Abstergo facility. They use the animi (plural for animus) seen at the beginning of Assassin’s Creed II to access memories of old Templars and to acquire their skills using the “bleeding effect”. There are eight game modes (Wanted, Alliance, Manhunt, Chest Capture, Advanced Wanted, Advanced Alliance, Escort and Assassinate) and different maps, including the areas from the second and the third game like Florence, as well as new maps like Rome, Castel Gandolfo, Siena and Mont Saint-Michel. The gameplay in multiplayer mode is similar to the core gameplay of the series, as players are required to use their assassination and stealth skills. The players must hunt down targets while being hunted themselves. Players earn points by performing assassinations, defending against pursuers, attaining bonuses or completing mode-specific objectives. It also contains a variety of characters, most of which must be unlocked.
Brotherhood was received very well by critics, Metacritic ratings are 88% for PC, 89% for 360 and 90% for PS3.
It won best Action Adventure game in the Spike TV Video Game Awards 2010 The game has also been nominated for 7 British Academy Video Games Awards in 2011, including Best Game. It won an award in the Action category, losing to Mass Effect 2 in the category for Best Game.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations – 2011

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

This story is again set in the 21st century and features the series protagonist Desmond Miles who, with the aid of a machine known as the Animus, relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. Revelations features two other returning protagonists: Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad in 12th and 13th century Masyaf, and Ezio Auditore da Firenze in 16th century Constantinople. The main story follows the Assassin Ezio’s journey to unlock the secret of Altaïr’s vault in Masyaf using disc-like artifacts containing Altaïr’s memories.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was initially conceived as a Nintendo 3DS game called Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy about Ezio traveling east to the Assassins’ former city of Masyaf, where he would have discovered the origins of the Assassin Order. It was first announced during Nintendo’s E3 2010 press conference. It was quietly cancelled and its main concept was developed into Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
In November 2010, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot teased “something Assassin’s related” in 2011, despite an earlier statement by Ubisoft Montreal’s Jean-Francois Boivin that no Assassin’s Creed game will be released in 2011. Geoffroy Sardin of Ubisoft later confirmed that there will be a “big” Assassin’s Creed game in 2011. Guillemot also explained that ultimate goal for Ubisoft is to release new games in the franchise annually along with Ubisoft’s most popular other franchises. In February 2011, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed that the next Assassin’s Creed game would be released during its next fiscal year, which starts on April 1, 2011, and ends on March 31, 2012.
On April 29, 2011 the game’s name was released on the official Assassin’s Creed Facebook page, with a link which led to a flash file. The teaser clip included the words, “Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad, Son of no one” in Arabic which hints that Altaïr, the main protagonist of the first game, may once again be the main protagonist of the game. A third teaser clip for the game showed the city of Constantinople, which hints at it being the setting for the game. In the E3 rumor section of its April 2011 issue, Xbox World 360 said Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is not Assassin’s Creed III, but suggests that game is also secretly in the works. Revelations was likely to be “another slimline Brotherhood-style offering”, Xbox World 360 stated. On May 5, Game Informer released details of the game, and the game was “officially” announced by Ubisoft at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011.
The game was developed primarily by Ubisoft Montreal in Canada. Production was aided in part by five other Ubisoft developers: Annecy, Massive, Quebec, Singapore, and Bucharest. Lead writer Darby McDevitt said that Revelations would not answer all the burning questions clouding the series, stating “Well, we won’t answer everything because Desmond’s story continues. But fans will definitely know most of the important details of Ezio and Altair’s lives, and how they fit into the grand scheme.” McDevitt also stated that 85 percent of Assassin’s Creed’s overarching plot is already “mapped out”. McDevitt claimed original Creed protagonist Altaïr had his story arc written for two years, and that Ezio’s ultimate fate was planned during the development of Brotherhood.
Voice of Desmond Miles, Nolan North, urged Ubisoft to adopt motion capture methods similar to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted. Speaking in an interview, North admitted there is a “disconnect” in the Ubisoft game’s current setup, which has voice actors provide voice facial animation separately from body motion capture, which is recorded by different actors. “I wish it wasn’t done separately,” North said. “Don’t get me wrong, the mo-cap actors do a great job, but there will always be somewhat of a disconnect when it’s done this way. After my experiences on the Uncharted franchise, where the actors do both performance and voice, I can honestly say there is absolutely a difference.”
The PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations does not force players to always be online to work like its predecessors, despite Ubisoft’s recent claims that its policy is a success, insisting it has seen “a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection”. Even then, the always-online DRM was permanently removed from all single-player games. It does, however, require a one-time-only online activation the very first time the player plays the game, which will permanently bind the activation code to the player’s account, and thus, it does not need to be activated again on the same account if the game is reinstalled for some reason. This also applies to reinstalling on another computer. Following that, the player can permanently play the game in offline mode.
Metacritic scores are straight across the board a good game, PC, 360 and PS3 are all 80%. 1UP gave the game a rating of B+, stating “While Revelations lacks that one supreme improvement or standout mechanic that defined AC2 and Brotherhood each, it’s still a damn fine sendoff for Altair and Ezio.”

Assassin’s Creed III – 2012

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

The story of Desmond using the Animus reliving his ancestors memories to try and advert the 2012 apocalypse. The flip side of the story is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution from 1754 to 1783, and follows Desmond’s half-English, half-Mohawk ancestor, Ratonhnhaké:ton (Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon), also known as Connor, as he fights the Templars’ attempts to gain control in the colonies.
Work on Assassin’s Creed III began in January 2010 (almost immediately after the release of Assassin’s Creed II) by a senior team of Ubisoft developers. The title was in development for two and a half years and had the longest development cycle since the first Assassin’s Creed. When Ubisoft first revealed Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in 2010, as new details came to light, there was some confusion within the gaming community as to whether this would be Assassin’s Creed III. According to the developers, Brotherhood was not Assassin’s Creed III, and the third installment would not star a “pre-existing character.” Ubisoft Montreal’s developers stated in their interviews that Assassin’s Creed III would be released eventually.
Jean-François Boivin of Ubisoft also stated that each numbered title in the series will introduce a new lead character and a new setting. Patrice Désilets, former series’ creative director, said that the series has always been planned as a trilogy. He also commented on the story of Assassin’s Creed III, saying that it would focus on Assassins’ quest to prevent the end of the world in 2012, and their race against time to find temples and Apples of Eden built by “Those Who Came Before”. Desmond would be searching for clues as to the locations of these temples, by exploring memories of one (or more) of his other ancestors.
Ubisoft said that when Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption released midway through Assassin’s Creed III’s development, it was surprising to see Rockstar had included wild animal hunting and a giant frontier to explore—features both planned for its own sequel. Lead writer Corey May said Ubisoft’s now looking at Red Dead’s success and trying to take the formula in “new directions”. Similarities between these two games are down to “a convergence of minds”, said Assassin’s Creed III writer Matt Turner. Creative Director Alex Hutchinson said Ubisoft steered clear of making the Assassin’s Creed III protagonist a female character because the game’s setting is not a strong match. Hutchinson said while many people wanted to see female assassins in the series, the American Revolution setting makes it difficult this time around.
Assassin’s Creed III features new weather simulations such as snow, fog, and rain. The seasons can also change i.e., Summer and Winter, which not only affect visuals but also gameplay, as the player will find that they run slower in deep snow. Snowfall can reduce visibility for the player and enemies, aiding stealth. Unlike the past games, this one includes animals varying from domestic (horses, cows, dogs) to wild (deer, wolves, bears). The wild ones are found in the Frontier and can be hunted for meat or marrow in order to be sold. The quality of the kill determines the price, encouraging the player to hunt silently. For this, traps and bait can also be used.
The economy is now based on the Davenport Homestead, which also acts as Connor’s adoptive home. The site can be visited by people such as carpenters, tailors, etc. suffering from displacement due to the war. Helping and interacting with these non-player characters(NPCs) will encourage them to settle in the Homestead. From there on, the player can craft various items and trade with them, and then sell the goods to the cities via caravan. The player can also help them build relationships with each other, which will then result in the formation of a small village. The player can also upgrade the Homestead manor as well as Connor’s ship, the Aquila.
A revamped version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s recruitment feature returns as players can enlist citizens to the Assassins’ cause by completing “Liberation” missions. They also have a much larger skill set, which allows them to start a riot, provide a covert escort, act as a personal bodyguard, etc. Other side missions include collecting Almanac pages, exploring underground tunnels to locate fast-travel stations, joining hunting and fighting clubs, investigating frontiersman rumors about UFOs and Sasquatch, “peg-leg” missions in which Connor goes to underground forts and wastelands to uncover the legend of Captain Kidd’s treasure, and others.
Assassin’s Creed III also features naval expeditions. Using Connor’s warship, the Aquila, the player can navigate the high seas. Control of the ship relies on environmental factors such as wind direction and speed, local presence of storms, high waves, and rocks. Engagements are by cannon, with broadsides covering both flanks of the ship, swivel guns that can be used to damage smaller ships which can also be boarded to find treasure, and chain shots from the broadsides as well to take down the masts of larger ships and disable them. The Aquilais used in the side missions known as “Privateer missions” and is also used in some of the main missions.
The Wii U version of the game has extra features. The player has the ability to change weapons on the go and the map is always visible on the Wii U Gamepad. The Wii U version also supports Off TV Play. With this feature enabled, the main screen is redirected to the Wii U Gamepad.
Ubisoft recommends the PC version of the game to be played with a controller even though it will still support keyboard and mouse setup. Ubisoft Montreal’s creative director Alex Hutchinson admitted: “We’re definitely supporting PC, we love PC, but I think it’ll be PC with a controller. I don’t see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup. I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin’s Creed, you have a controller.”
Assassin’s Creed III received positive reviews, with critics praising the visuals, narrative, combat style, hunting mechanics, naval missions and Homestead system, while complaining about the game’s glitches and some of the missions’ prescriptive layouts. Metacritic has the PC release at 80%, 360 at 84% and PS3 and WiiU releases at 85%.
The 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards, the game won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation and was nominated for Adventure Game of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design. Losing those two categories to The Walking Dead by Telltale Games, and Journey by thatgamecompany, respectively.

Assassin’s Creed IV – 2013

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Windows

This game continues the struggle of the Assassins and Templars. The framing story is set in the 21st century and describes the player as an Abstergo agent. The main story is set in the 18th century Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy, and follows notorious Welsh pirate Edward Kenway, grandfather and father of Assassin’s Creed III protagonist Ratonhnhaké:ton and antagonist Haytham Kenway, respectively, who stumbles upon the Assassin/Templar conflict. The attempted establishment of a Republic of Pirates utopia (free from either British or Spanish rule) is a significant plot element.
I missed this title when it came out, Alan had to tell me how great it was, when he played it on the WiiU. It was given away for Xbox Games With Gold, and it was a fantastic experience. I loved how much I was able to complete, but pretty frustrated that achievements were on both single player and multiplayer, so I couldn’t get them all.
The game features three main cities; Havana, Kingston, and Nassau, which reside under Spanish, British, and pirate influence, respectively. In addition, locations like Port-au-Prince and smaller locations like Greater Inagua are used as main story points. It also features 50 other individual locations to explore, including atolls, sea forts, Mayan ruins, sugar plantations, and underwater shipwrecks, with a 60/40 balance between land and naval exploration. It has a more open world feel, with missions similar to those found in Assassin’s Creed, as well as fewer restrictions for the player. The world opens up sooner in the game, as opposed to Assassin’s Creed III, which had very scripted missions and did not give players freedom to explore until the game was well into its first act. The player will encounter jungles, forts, ruins, and small villages and the world is built to allow players much more freedom, such as allowing players to engage, board, and capture passing ships and swimming to nearby beaches in a seamless fashion. In addition, the hunting system has been retained from Assassin’s Creed III, allowing the player to hunt on land, and fish in the water, with resources gathered used to upgrade equipment.
A new aspect in the game is the Jackdaw, the ship that the player captains. The Jackdaw is upgradeable throughout the game, and is easily accessible to the player when needed. In addition, a new underwater component has been added. The player has access to a spyglass, allowing the examination of distant ships, along with their cargo and strength. It can also help determine if an island still has animals to hunt, treasures to find, high points to reach for synchronization or additional side-quests to complete, such as assassinations and naval contracts. An updated form of the recruit system introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has returned, allowing Edward to recruit crew members. While Kenway’s crew will remain loyal to him, they can be promoted to captain acquired ships, and are needed to assist in boarding enemy vessels, they cannot assist in combat or perform long-range assassinations, as in previous games. Ubisoft removed this aspect of the brotherhood system, believing it allowed players to bypass tense and challenging scenarios too easily.
In the present day, at the offices of Abstergo Entertainment—a subsidiary of Abstergo Industries—in Montreal, Quebec, players engage in modern-day pirating through the exploration of Abstergo’s offices, eavesdropping, and hacking, all without combat. As well, various “hacking” games, similar to previous cluster and glyph puzzles, are present, that uncover secrets about Abstergo.
Multiplayer also returns, with new settings and game modes, though it is only land-based.
In early February 2013, during its quarterly financial call to investors, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed that the next Assassin’s Creedgame, due for release some time before April 2014, would feature a new hero, time period, and development team. Development began in mid-2011 at Ubisoft Montreal by a separate team from the one on Assassin’s Creed III, with additional work done by Ubisoft studios in Annecy, Bucharest, Kyiv, Milan, Montpellier, Singapore and Sofia.
Lead content manager Carsten Myhill stressed away from the sentiment that the sequel should have been a spin-off in the same vein as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, given the ostensible similarities with Assassin’s Creed III. He stated “The whole feeling of the game is completely fresh and new. It will feel very different from Assassin’s Creed III. I think it completely warrants the Assassin’s Creed IV moniker, not only with the new name and setting but the attitude and the tone of the experience.” Assassin’s Creed IV is the first main series numbered title to carry a subtitle, a decision which Myhill says was made to clearly distinguish the pirate theme from the rest of the franchise.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag received “generally favorable” reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic, with critics praising the open world gameplay, side-quests, graphics and naval combat. Aggregate scores for PS4 at 83%, PC with 84%, WiiU and 360 at 86%, and 88% for the PS3 release.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue – 2014

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows

This game still follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The story is set in the mid-18th century during the Seven Years’ War, and follows Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin-turned-Templar who hunts down former members of his Brotherhood after being betrayed by them. Gameplay in Rogue is very similar to that of Black Flag with a mixture of ship-based naval exploration and third-person land-based exploration with some new features.
Naval aspects from previous games return with the player controlling Shay’s ship, the Morrígan. The Morrígan has a shallower draft compared to Edward Kenway’s Jackdaw from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing for river travel. New features include new ship-based weapons such as releasing an oil slick which can then be ignited, Puckle guns, and the ability for enemies to board the Morrígan during ship-to-ship combat. The arctic environment also adds features to naval gameplay and exploration, as certain icebergs can be rammed with an icebreaker. However, the underwater diving missions featured in Black Flag do not exist as swimming in the North Atlantic causes the player’s health to rapidly deplete due to the frigid water, though Shay is able to swim in the waters of the ‘river valley’ area.
For combat, the game introduces an air rifle, similar to the blowpipe from the Black Flag which allows the player to silently take out enemies at a distance. The air rifle can be outfitted with a variety of different projectiles, such as firecrackers. The player can also use it as a grenade launcher, which fires off shrapnel grenades and other loads. Hand-to-hand combat has been slightly altered, and now enemy attacks can be countered with timing, similar to the Batman: Arkham series of games. Enemy Assassins feature archetypes similar to previous games, using skills that players have been using throughout the series; they can hide in bushes, blend in with crowds, and perform air assassinations against the player. Poison gas can now be used as an environmental weapon, and Shay has a mask that can mitigate its effects.
Side missions and activities return, with a number of them based on those of the previous games. Reflecting Shay’s role as a Templar, the game introduces a new side mission: Assassin Interception. These mirror the Assassination side missions in previous games, in that Shay, after intercepting a messenger pigeon carrying an assassination contract, must prevent an innocent being assassinated by finding and killing Assassins hidden nearby.
By March 2014, an Assassin’s Creed game code-named “Comet” was revealed to be in development, set for release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. By the end of the month, additional reports indicated that “Comet” would be set around 1758 in New York, as well as feature sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. The game would be a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and would feature a Templar named Shay as the main protagonist. Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed III and Adéwalé from Black Flag would also make appearances.
The game was officially announced on August 5, 2014, following a leak of the title. Game director Martin Capel described the game as finishing the series’ “North American saga” and that the game was designed to accommodate specific fan requests, such as taking on the role of a Templar. The game is intended to “fill the gaps” of the story between Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flagand has “a crucial link” to the events of the previous games. In addition to Ubisoft Sofia’s work on the game, contributions are also being made by Ubisoft studios in Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, Chengdu, Milan and Bucharest. Ubisoft also stated that the game was being envisioned without multiplayer components “at this stage”, but did not rule out any modes being added after the game launched. March 2018, a remaster of the game was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The game got average to positive reviews. Daniel Krupa from IGN gave the game a 6.8/10. He praised the engaging story, the nuanced lead character, atmospheric scenery, but criticized the lack of Templar abilities included, bland encounters with other main characters, uninspired side quests, empty world, as well as the frustrating combat and traversal system, which he stated has shown no improvements. He also criticized the game for not encouraging the player to explore the world.
Metacritic’s aggregate scores have the PS4 and Xbox One remasters at 71%. The PS3 and 360 releases at 72% and up to 74% for the PC.

Assassin’s Creed Unity – 2014

PS4, Xbox One, Windows

The struggle between Assassins and Templars continue. The other side of the story is set in Paris during the French Revolution; the single-player story follows Arno Victor Dorian in his efforts to expose the true powers behind the Revolution. The game retains the series’ third-person open world exploration as well as introducing a revamped combat, parkour and stealth system. The game also introduces cooperative multiplayer to the Assassin’s Creed series, letting up to four players engage in narrative-driven missions and explore the open world map.
The game was meant to be rebuilt, with fencing being used as an inspiration for the new system. In addition to returning weapons from previous games, Assassin’s Creed Unity introduces the Phantom Blade. The Phantom Blade uses the mechanics of a crossbow to fire a silent projectile at a great distance, while still serving the same role as the Hidden Blade in previous Assassin’s Creed games. Navigation for the game was also overhauled: new “Free-run up” and “Free-run down” commands were added to make it easier for the player to scale buildings in either direction. Additionally, Arno learns new moves throughout the game, but the player can also purchase new skills as well. With the updated, larger crowds, new interactions with them are also available. The crowd regularly presents many activities, appearing organically, that the player can then choose to engage in at their leisure. Examples include scaring a group of bullies by pulling out a weapon, “settling” a disagreement between two civilians by killing one of them, which is usually a Templar, or chasing down a thief who has just pick pocketed somebody.
For the first time, the series allows players to customize the characters’ abilities, adopting a skill tree that enables players to assign points earned through gameplay to improve their skills in stealth, melee, and ranged combat, and health. Players are also able to customise their weapons, armour and equipment to further complement their individual style of play. Players also have a wider selection of weapons available, including swords, axes, spears, rifles, pistols and throwable items, such as smoke bombs. The expansion DLC, Assassin’s Creed Dead Kings, adds the formidable guillotine gun, which from gameplay I saw on YouTube, is a grenade launcher with an axe head for close combat fighting.
Assassin’s Creed Unity also introduces cooperative multiplayer to the series. Players can enter taverns, which act as social hubs in the game, where you can see if any friends are playing the game at the current time. If they are currently in a mission, they will appear as a “ghost” version of their player, allowing you to approach it to request to join their mission. If accepted, you are transitioned to their game and both of you reset to the most recent checkpoint, and continue on from there. Up to four players can join together in this fashion. The player will take on the role of Arno, customized within their own game, with other players appearing as their own customized version of Arno in their own sets of equipment, weapons, and armor. Many missions and activities will be available for cooperative play (which the player can also complete on their own), but there are some story missions that are single player only.
There are significant tie-ins with the Assassins Creed Unity Companion App, a “freemium” click app with limited “direct ties to the overall story of Unity”. There are a significant number of chests, assassination targets, and other collectibles that are visible to all players but only accessible to those who have completed certain goals within the app. Following an update in February 2015, this requirement is no longer necessary, meaning players who have downloaded the update, can now collect all the chests in the game without having to play the companion app.
Chris Carter from Destructoid gave the game 7/10, praising the new movement system, likable lead characters, iconic setting, smooth animation and improved draw distance. New additions such as character customization and huge crowds were also praised. However, he criticized the predictable story, technical issues, and the mission design of co-op multiplayer, as it is impossible to play some missions solo. He stated that “Unity feels like a step back. … It lacks that grand sense of roaming the uncharted seas in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, or even the open-ended feel of the wilderness in Assassin’s Creed III, but it’s a journey worth taking if you’re already into the series.”
The Metacritic aggregate scores are 70% for the PC and PS4, and 72% on the Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – 2015

PS4, Xbox One, Windows

The modern setting is still Assassins against the Templars. The other story is set in Victorian era London and follows twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye as they navigate the corridors of organized crime, and take back the city from Templar control. The open world design lets players freely roam London.
Composed of the greater area of Victorian London, consisting of seven boroughs, the world of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is much larger than previous entries in the series. The player can also perform side missions, which were designed to reflect the fight for power in London, and are cohesive to the game’s main story. In keeping with a historical context that more closely resembles the modern day, the city guard of previous iterations is replaced by a Victorian-era police force, who will rarely attack the player unless a crime is committed in their presence; the player’s main enemy is instead a Templar-controlled street gang called the “Blighters.”
The game lets the player control two characters: twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Jacob is a hot-headed brawler, specializing in close-ranged combat, while Evie is strong in stealth and relies on her intelligence and wit. Additionally, Evie is the first playable female protagonist of the main series. The main weapons of Syndicate include brass knuckles, a compact revolver, a cane-sword, and the traditional Nepalese curved kukri knife. The game also introduces new systems to navigate the world: a rope launcher, which allows the player to rappel up structures, or create a zip-line between buildings; carriages, which can be piloted or simply occupied by the player, and can be the setting of fights and parkour chases; and a train, which serves as the main base for the player throughout the game. Unlike its predecessor, the game has no multiplayer mode, and does not feature a companion app.
I have not covered the details of all the DLC content that adds on to the games, but this one has an extra story that I find really interesting:
“In 1888, Jacob Frye meets Mr. Weaversbrook and warns him not to publish Jack’s letters as he wants to spread fear in London. He then receives word of another murder and goes to investigate. Jacob goes after the Ripper, who begins following him before eventually attacking. As the Ripper pursues Jacob, it is revealed that he knows Jacob personally, and possesses Assassin abilities. After escaping, Jacob reaches his lodgings, but the Ripper arrives and attacks again, with Jacob seemingly being killed.
Following the incident, Jacob’s sister Evie arrives from India, having been summoned by Jacob some time before, where she is greeted by police inspector Frederick Abberline, who informs her that Jacob is missing and presumed dead. He also tells her that she may be the last Assassin remaining in London, and the only one capable of stopping the Ripper. After finding Jacob’s lodgings, Evie takes some non-lethal fear tools used by the Indian Brotherhood. She also deduces that the Ripper is in fact one of Jacob’s Assassin Initiates. Afterwards, she kills the Ripper’s lieutenants who have been aiding in his crimes and frees a number of prisoners he had been keeping hostage. All the while, the Ripper stalks Evie.
With more murders occurring, Evie is pressured to find the Ripper quickly; after the Ripper’s final murder, Abberline makes it plain unless she delivers the Ripper, he will not be able to stop her from being arrested for the crimes – Evie vows to stop the Ripper or die trying. She re-examines all of his old crime scenes and finds hidden clues that lead to him, as well as learning the fact that all of the women he murdered were Assassins. She later finds a message left by the Ripper, which reveals that he never forgave Jacob for failing to protect his mother from being killed by Starrick’s men. Evie deduces that the Ripper is waiting for her at Lambeth Asylum, where he was imprisoned before Jacob recruited him into the Brotherhood. Meanwhile, the Ripper returns to the Asylum and murders his former tormentors and destroys all records of his true identity. Evie arrives shortly after the Ripper and kills him in battle.
Afterwards, she finds an imprisoned but still alive Jacob. With the Ripper dead, Abberline agrees to cover up the Ripper’s identity as an Assassin in order to protect the Brotherhood.”
Daniel Krupa from IGN gave the game an 8.2/10, citing the design of the city and the lighthearted plot as high points, while criticizing the repetitive combat, yet saying it was better than Unity’s combat. Metacritcs scores the PC release at 74%, PS4 with 76% and 78% for the Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Origins – 2017

PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Set in Ancient Egypt near the end of the Ptolemaic period (49–47 BCE) and recounts the secret fictional history of real-world events. The story follows a Medjay named Bayek, and explores the origins of the centuries-long conflict between the Brotherhood of Assassins, who fight for peace by promoting liberty, and The Order of the Ancients—forerunners to the Templar Order—who desire peace through the forced imposition of order.
* The Medjay were an elite paramilitary police force, serving as desert scouts and protectors of areas of Pharaonic interest.
Development of Assassin’s Creed Origins started in early 2014, after the completion of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The series had been following a yearly release cycle, but after the launch of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in 2015, Ubisoftchose to delay the release of Origins until 2017. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot cited a desire to focus on the quality of the individual titles, the opportunity to develop future games with new engines, and the disappointing sales of Syndicate as the reasons behind the decision.
During production of Assassin’s Creed III in November 2011 Ubisoft conducted a fan survey exploring potential settings for future titles. Ancient Egypt was one of the most popular choices, but Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin’s Creed III, dismissed the results as he considered Ancient Egypt—as with the other two chosen settings, feudal Japan and World War II—as being “the worst choices” for a setting. The development team hired Egyptologists to assist in making the open world more accurate to the time period.
The “eagle vision” mode, which was used by the franchise to give the player the ability to scout an area by highlighting enemies and objects, has been replaced by a Bonelli’s eagle named Senu as a companion. The player is able to take control of Senu and scout an area in advance, highlighting enemies which will then be visible when they return to controlling Bayek, the game’s main character. The player can also tame various predators which will serve as a companion for the player and assist them against enemies. Naval combat, underwater exploration and tomb raiding return to the series.
The game also features revised combat mechanics. Previous titles in the Assassin’s Creed series used a “paired animation system” whereby the player character would engage with an enemy and combat would be dictated by a series of predetermined animations based on player inputs and scripted AI movements. Origins moves to a “hit-box system”. When the player wields a weapon, they will strike at whatever is in range, allowing them to hit enemies directly, injure individual body parts, and creating the possibility of missing an enemy entirely. Complementing this is the way weapons fall into different categories and are rated on their damage dealt, speed and range. Enemies will be drawn from several basic archetypes that use a variety of tactics in combat which, combined with the hit-box system, will require the player to learn the attributes of individual weapons and tailor their playing style to succeed in combat. As enemy combat is also dictated by the hit-box system, the player has been equipped with a shield and needs to balance their offensive and defensive capabilities. Locations within the game world are designed to enable the player to choose their playing style by offering stealth and open combat as equally-viable choices for completing objectives.
Origins introduces an arena-based combat system where the player fights waves of increasingly difficult combinations of enemies culminating in a boss fight. While the introduction to the arena is incorporated into the main story, the arena mode stands alone from the wider narrative. The game world features several arenas, with a variety of enemy combinations and unique bosses not found in the game world. The player is able to unlock additional weapons and equipment by completing arena fights.
Colin Campbell of Polygon gave the game a score of 8.5/10, writing, “In essence, Assassin’s Creed Origins is much the same game as the original Assassin’s Creed, which came out a decade ago. It’s a formula that people like to play, and it’s certainly been honed and improved over the years. Origins is, then, undoubtedly the best iteration of this formula yet. But I yearn for a fresh approach and new ideas, something that astounds the senses as much as the wondrous world this game inhabits.”
Metacritic aggregate scores have the PS4 at 81%, 84% for the PC and 85% on Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – 2018

PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Stadia

Set in the year 431 BC, the plot tells a fictional history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Players control a male or female mercenary who fights for both sides as they attempt to unite their family and uncover a malign cult.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey places more emphasis on role-playing elements than previous games in the series. The game contains dialogue options, branching quests and multiple endings. The player is able to choose the gender of the main character, adopting the role of Alexios or Kassandra. The game features a notoriety system in which mercenaries chase after the player if they commit crimes like killing or stealing.
The player character, is a mercenary, and a descendant of the Spartan king Leonidas I. They inherit his broken spear, which is forged into a blade to become a weapon that grants the player special abilities in combat. The game uses a skill tree system that allows the player to unlock new abilities. The three skill trees are “hunter”, which focuses on ranged attacks through use of a bow & arrow, “warrior”, which focuses on weapons based combat (swords, spears, axes etc.), and “assassin”, which focuses on stealth & silent take-downs. This replaces the system used in Origins, which granted the player a series of passive abilities.
The hitbox combat system introduced in Origins returns and is expanded upon to grant the player access to different special skills when the ability bar fills up. These skills include calling a rain of arrows and a powerful kick to knock opponents off-balance, and are similar to the “Overpower” mechanic introduced in Origins that let the player use a powerful finishing move in combat. The game also features a gear system in which each piece of armor the player wears has different statistics and provides a range of advantages. These can be equipped and upgraded individually.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey also features naval combat again, with the player having access to Hellenistic-era warships to explore the Aegean Sea. The conflict between Athens and Sparta is represented through a “War System” which enables players to take contracts from mercenaries and participate in different large-scale battles against hostile factions. The war system can change a faction’s influence over a region.
The player can develop romantic relationships with non-playable characters of both genders, regardless of their own character’s gender. Creative director Jonathan Dumont commented that “since the story is choice-driven, we never force players in romantic situations they might not be comfortable with (…) I think this allows everybody to build the relationships they want, which I feel respects everybody’s roleplay style and desires.” Players and critics appreciated this inclusion of queer romance options. However, many reacted negatively to a plot development in the Legacy of the First Blade DLC in which the player character has no choice but to enter into a relationship and have a child with a person of the opposite gender, considering that this invalidated their character’s identity and the roleplaying aspects previously emphasized by Ubisoft. Ubisoft responded that “we strive to give players choice whenever possible in Odyssey and apologise to those surprised by the events in this episode”. Ubisoft later stated that the forced romance would be removed with a future patch along with a modified cutscene. However this consisted of editing the cutscene slightly so that the player could tell their child they were only doing it for the blood-line – the child is still compulsory.
EGMNow gave the game an 8.5/10, writing “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey lives up to its namesake. By fully investing in becoming an action RPG, Odyssey’s characters, combat, story, and scope are beyond anything the series has accomplished so far. Its ambitions might get the better of it sometimes, like in how it divides its story moments or in how the leveling system can get out of hand, but the overall experience is, simply put, epic.” Metacritic aggregate scores have the PS4 version at 83%, the PC release at 86% and the Xbox One release is up at 87%.

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