PIXEL BURN – Assassin’s Creed Rogue, BioShock iOS, Resident Evil Remake HD Turbo

In which Matt posts an episode on here almost four weeks late.
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[TRANSCRIPT]

Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I take a look at some of the more important, interesting or irritating things to have happened in the week’s gaming news. Because I can’t drink myself to sleep EVERY night now, can I?

Unlike whomever at Ubisoft wrote the script to this trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, formerly known by the codename Assassin’s Creed: Comet and officially announced this week. Albeit only after this very same trailer got leaked onto the internet first. That is if you actually believe it was leaked and not just sneakily released by Ubisoft in advance to build hype. As is often the case these days.

Sweet Jesus, I wrote better lines than this when I was 14!

Anyhow, Rogue’s protagonist is a former Assassin called Shay Patrick Cormac who defects to the Templars after his Assassin brothers screw him over somehow. Cue Shay hunting down his former hooded compatriots from New York to the Arctic circle, in a story set between Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed 3 which reportedly ties-in to the story for Assassin’s Creed: Unity. As well as being the final game in what Ubisoft are calling the series’ North American saga, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is also the franchise’s final farewell to the previous console generation. Its currently confirmed only for an Xbox 360 and PS3 release on November 11th.

Besides the usual parkour nonsense the game is confirmed to also feature the naval elements introduced in Assassin’s Creed 3 and expanded-upon in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. Which again leads me to wonder why Ubisoft don’t give us a proper non-Assassin’s Creed pirate game like Sid Meier’s Pirates.

Come on Ubisoft, you know you really want to. You’ve said there’s no seafaring in Assassin’s Creed Unity, so what else are you going to use this nifty naval combat engine for?

Meanwhile, deep below the seas, 2K Games announced this week that Bioshock, Irrational Games’ aquatic critique of Randian Objectivism, is being re-released as a “premium priced” title – aka “a comparitively expensive one” – for iOS. You know, for iPhones. And iPads. Touch screen devices!

To which any rational person’s immediate reaction would be WHY?!

Followed by HOW? Specifically how a game that utilised two triggers, two shoulder buttons, two analogue sticks, a d-pad and four face buttons to play, is coming out on a platform for which the primary interface is jabbing at a glass screen with fat, sweaty fingers. Like a cretin.

[Me, pawing at iPhone like a cretin]

I’m playing BioShock!

Why, by cluttering the screen with virtual analogue sticks and control icons of course! And by scaling back the graphics to a level where the splicers resemble something out of Alone in the Dark.

The 1992 version.

Oh but it’ll support most iOS-compatible bluetooth controllers! So you can prop-up your tablet or, god forbid, your iPhone on a little stand and play it that way, without extraneous crap such as weapon icons, a crouch button or “your thumbs” covering up most of the screen.

So why not just play it on a fucking console or PC then?

Alright so you’ll be able to play it on public transport, but why would you want to?! Why, for the love of all that is sane, would you willingly choose to play an immersive first-person game like Bioshock on a tiny screen on a crowded bus? It’s not like the mobile versions of XCOM or Civilisation, where the immersion comes from the strategic depth of their gameplay mechanics. Most of Bioshock’s immersion arises from its sound design, art direction, environments, dialogue, and other elements all woven together into a delicate audio-visual illusion. An illusion all-too-easily shattered by a screaming child hopped-up on sugar and e-numbers in the seat behind you.

Now I’m not saying big games cannot ever be successfully adapted to mobile platforms. I’m just not convinced Bioshock can. If we lived in a world where this was the first time we’d ever seen Bioshock, making its debut as a mobile-only title, then it would be a whole lot more impressive. Instead it feels like a cynical cash-in, dreamt up by an executive nostrils-deep in Colombian Marching Powder.

And with the original Bioshock still readily available for last-gen consoles & on Steam, this iOS version seems doomed to be stuck in its shadow. Something you might buy at a discount for the novelty value, or to show off your new iPad to your chums with.

You are of course free to try and persuade me otherwise. The operative word being “try.”

Continuing on the theme of remakes, Capcom declared this week that it’s remaking the very first Resident Evil for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Well not quite the very first one. Capcom are specifically remaking the 2002 Gamecube version of Resident Evil, which was itself a remake that just happened to strip out a whole load of what made the original Playstation version so entertaining in the first place.

[COMPARISON BETWEEN ORIGINAL CHEESY RESI 1 AND GAMECUBE REMAKE]

Which makes statements like this one really, really weird, because it’s not the original game’s atmosphere they’re preserving. The original Playstation version of Resident Evil was a carnival of campy, schlocky B-movie grade nonsense that didn’t take itself seriously. If it had been a movie instead of a game it would’ve been the sort that went straight to VHS in the 90s, found tucked away on a shelf in your local video store between “Surf Nazis Must Die” and “Hell Comes to Frogtown.”

The so-called “original” being preserved here on the other hand is itself a remake, and one which Capcom deemed a commercial failure at the time for “only” selling 1.5 million copies. In fact it’s because of the Gamecube remake that the entire Resident Evil series turned almost entirely away from survival horror for Resident Evil 4. A decision that eventually brought us the sub-Michael Bay “action-horror” bollocks that is Resident Evil 6.

On the bright side at least this remastering of a remake shifts the series back towards to its survival horror roots, albeit with a literal step backwards. Yet even that is too bold and outrageous for Capcom, who’ve decided this new version will be a digital-only release in North America and Europe for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 & PS4.

There will also be a limited boxed retail version on PS3 only available in Japan.

At the moment it seems you can’t swing a cat around without hitting some remake or remaster of an older game. We’ve recently had The Last of Us Remastered for PS4 and Fable Anniversay for Xbox 360, and we’ll soon be seeing a shinier version of Sleeping Dogs for Xbox One and PS4.

Announced this week under the name Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, this remastered edition for a new console generation includes all of the previously released DLC such as the Bruce Lee-tastic Zodiac Tournament, and runs at 1080p with better graphical fidelity.

The graphics won’t look as good as this of course because this is from a live action trailer made to promote it. Well, it’s a re-edit of the original live-action trailer from two years ago, but I digress. While it doesn’t show any gameplay whatsoever it does do a nice job…again…of conveying the feel and tone of Sleeping Dogs’ Hong Kong action movie world.

Stupidly, for a trailer advertising an HD remake it doesn’t show any in-game graphics whatosever. You’d think that would be one of the main selling points, right? Luckily for you I’ve managed to acquire some footage of the definitive version of Sleeping Dogs which I’m going to show you right now.

All right so that’s just the PC version running in 1080p with HD textures. Obvious joke is obvious, PC Master Race and all that. It should still give you a good idea of what you can expect from the Xbox One and PS4 versions.

Sleeping Dogs is not a game without its flaws but I love it all the same. The Hong Kong setting was a unique and interesting change from the environments of games like GTA, and I found the Triad-focused storyline and characters interesting and compelling. Plus how could I not love a game where you can smash people’s faces into railings, hijack moving vehicles from another moving vehicle, and sing along to “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls in a karaoke bar.

So if you never took advantage of one of the countless opportunities there have been to pick it up for a pittance, and you’re looking for something to pass the time before actual new games arrive on your console of choice, Sleeping Dogs is a solid choice. Snazzier graphics aside it is still the same game however, so if you already own it on PC, 360 or PS3 you’ll probably want to wait for the forthcoming sequel, Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars, instead.

But then loads of people bought The Last of Us twice over so what do I know?

And I’m afraid that’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. Apologies for it being a short one but this week was a bit of a mad one for me. If you still liked it then please do let me know, and let your friends, family and assorted loved ones know as well. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. And if you didn’t like it then maybe you’ll enjoy a remake of it for iOS. You can go now.

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.