Posts tagged " ubisoft "

KD Radio Episode 10: E3 2017 in Review

June 23rd, 2017 Posted by KD Radio - Your Non-Elitist/Retro Gaming Podcast, Podcasts No Comment yet

Shaline, Vendortron and Joseph check in on their E3 predictions and chat about all the cool (and sometimes not so cool) stuff that was shown at E3 this year!

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KD Radio Episode 3: The LatE3 Episode

July 6th, 2016 Posted by KD Radio - Your Non-Elitist/Retro Gaming Podcast, Podcasts No Comment yet

Tonight’s show is all about E3! Late I know, but we have a lot to say about it. Also we have our top 5 news and then our E3 picks and looking-forwards-too.

yay!

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Shank’s Spiel: Ubisoft’s Contempt For PC Gamers

June 26th, 2014 Posted by Shank's Spiel 3 comments

Editor’s Note: The following piece contains language some may find objectionable. Reader discretion is advised.

I knew it.

The instant Sony’s E3 presser closed out a day full of conferences, I called Brian and told him how The Division demo this year looked noticeably downgraded from its reveal last year. I specifically called out how the reflections looked significantly pared back, particles looked lower in quality, and the smoke looked altered and didn’t appear volumetric.

If a certain rumor  is to be believed, my suspicions and frustrations are founded.

A lot has happened in the seven days since my last Spiel. Ubisoft is crossing a major line here. They came out and “justified” – if you can label their insulting, pitiful, condescending bullsh** as justification – their reasons why the final PC version of Watch Dogs isn’t as graphically beautiful as it was during its E3 reveal.

In the same week, Ubisoft’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing produced another bullsh** excuse as to why achieving 1080p resolution for an open world game is “incredibly difficult”.

And finally, if the source is to be believed, a developer working on The Division explains that they have already downgraded a lot of graphical features because there is a large push from the publisher (read: Ubisoft) that the PC version, “simply cannot have a big gap”.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Let’s begin with Ubisoft’s so-called “justification” on the downgraded graphics of Watch Dogs. They state,

“The dev team is completely dedicated to getting the most out of each platform, so the notion that we would actively downgrade quality is contrary to everything we’ve set out to achieve. We test and optimise our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality.”

Let’s stop right there. “Optimise our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality”?

Really?

How is it, then, that after using the mod, I experienced a smoother performance and more consistent framerate? Let’s continue. They go on to state that indeed, the game does contain “old, unused render settings” that were deactivated for various reasons such as performance. Ubisoft continues to state that the mod “subjectively” enhances the graphics “in certain situations”.

No, Ubisoft. The mod doesn’t “subjectively” enhance anything. If you have a pair of eyes and a mild observation for the workings of reality, you can see that the modded game makes the game objectively better. Why? The mod enables physically accurate features such as headlights casting shadows, and raindrops visibly reacting to light.

This isn’t a subjective improvement. This is how light and objects behave in real life. Therefore, labeling the modeling and behavior of objects and lighting after their physical real-world counterparts as subjective is complete and utter bullsh**.

Secondly, hiding behind the veil of “peformance” simply beggars belief. This is the most pitiful excuse surrounding this whole fiasco. I and many others who used this mod experienced performance gains. One guy on the internet was able to make the game look and run better than Ubisoft’s drove of developers.

Ubisoft’s response to this mod is a case of complete disregard for the consumer, nevermind the PC gamer. They assume that you, the ones with the money, are stupid, brainless cash machines.

You’re not. You are intelligent and can see past the condescending disconnected bullsh** spewed out by Ubisoft.

Let’s move on to something a bit…I was going to use the word “happier” but that’s simply not true. In an article on Gamespot, Ubisoft’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tony Key, explained why obtaining 1080p in open world games is “incredibly difficult”.

“When a team is designing a game, they have to make choices because there’s not unlimited power. Yes, the PS4 can deliver 1080p; that doesn’t mean that the game can without making sacrifices in other areas. For an open-world game, it’s incredibly difficult.”

This is in addition to reports that Assassin’s Creed Unity is targeting 1080p60 on both the PS4 and Xbox One.

Ok so…where to start on this one? Let’s attack this in reverse order. Assassin’s Creed has never been a twitch game like Call of Duty. Meaning, you don’t need to have insane reaction times to be able to play the game. This is only perpetuated by the large single-player foundation. Even though Unity will feature co-op, it’s not competitive, as you are sharing the world with three other players. There is absolutely no reason to target 60 frames per second in this open world, largely single-player action game, that too on hardware that are so inherently limited from the onset. None whatsoever.

Perhaps more incredulous is Ubisoft’s claim that creating 1080p open world games is somehow difficult. Once again, this is complete and utter bullsh** designed to distract consumers and treat them like brainless simpletons. You and I know this is simply not true.

If only there was another massive open world game releasing with incredibly beautiful vistas, insane draw distances, larger world, and more advanced graphics techniques than Assassin’s Creed to counter Ubisoft’s limp-wristed argument. Oh wait, there’s The Witcher 3.

Just recently, CD Projekt Red Executive Producer John Mamais told Eurogamer that they already have The Witcher 3 running at 1080p on the PS4 and are working to get the game running at 1080p on the Xbox One saying,

“We will hit 900p no problem. We’d like to get it up to 1080p on Xbox One…But we anticipate being able to do 1080p on PS4 a little bit easier than on the Xbox.”

If a developer with arguably less resources than Ubisoft is able to get a graphically superior and physically larger open world experience to run at 1080p on the consoles, there is absolutely no excuse that Ubisoft cannot do the same. Once again, Ubisoft is showing their true colors by talking down to consumers and treating us like second class citizens.

Conveniently, Ubisoft completely fails to mention nor recognize the PC. Nowhere in the Gamespot piece is the PC even mentioned. Nowhere does Ubisoft recognize that even a mid-range PC will easily be able to play Assassin’s Creed Unity at full 1080p. It’s as if they don’t want to recognize the overall superiority the PC offers in flexibility and scalability. It’s as if they’re deliberately trying to downplay the PC version simply by not mentioning it.

All of this – all of this incomprehensible ignorance and incompetence – neatly leads into this week’s pièce de résistance.

First, a major caveat. The following is unconfirmed and stands as a rumor as of this writing. However, it is my personal opinion that it’s significant enough to bear recognition and considerable discussion. Given the fact that we’re talking about Ubisoft here, it will not surprise me in the least if this rumor turns out to be true.

According to an anonymous source speaking to WhatIfGaming, there is a very real and deliberate push from Ubisoft to downgrade the PC version of The Division simply keep it closer to the console versions.

“There is definitely a lot of push coming from publishers to not make the experience so different on consoles as to alienate people into thinking that next generation is not as powerful as PC. This is probably what happened at Ubisoft Montreal [for Watch Dogs]. I think that while making stability changes is definitely important, it does not completely obliterate a lot of enhanced rendering applications.”

But wait, there’s more,

“To me it still looks good, but not as good as the original reveal. I am sure as we get closer to launch and the actual console versions of the game featuring SD (Snowdrop) that it will start to seem all too obvious to people especially those on PCs…Truth be told in regards to your question that while ‘Yes’ the lead platform is the PC, we simply cannot have such a big gap.”

Keeping in mind that this is still a rumor, it is my opinion that this will end up being true. I really do believe that the PC version of The Division will be deliberately crippled simply to bring it closer in parity to the consoles. Given the demo we witnessed at Ubisoft’s presser, which I have since poured over, this rumor only fuels my initial suspicions of a PC downgrade.

This is why PC gamers hate Ubisoft. There are so many layers here, so many reasons why I and many of you are absolutely seething with anger right now.

This goes so far beyond graphics. This is a complete lack of respect, outright contempt, and active sabotage of an entire base of consumers simply so another group of consumers won’t feel left because of their weak, limp-wristed plastic boxes.

This is a systemic, conscious decision to deliberately cripple an entire base of consumers. This is unconscionable. This completely toxic and corrosive.

Let me make myself perfectly clear.

I. Don’t. Care. If. Console. Players. Feel. Jealous.

The reality is this – consoles will never compete with PCs. Deliberately crippling the PC version simply to not “alienate people into thinking that next generation is not as powerful as PC” is totally unjustifiable. The so-called “next gen” consoles are weaker than PCs. They will never be as powerful as the PC. They will never be able to push as many pixels, light as accurately, nor physically simulate as realistically as a PC. Not today. Not ever.

I don’t care what business excuses Ubisoft comes up with. They’re wrong. There’s no argument to this. Ubisoft is just wrong. Not only are their actions an outright lie, they’re completely and utterly morally evil.

Forgive any extreme language used this week. As you all know by now, I select my words carefully. I wouldn’t be using this language if I didn’t think it was the strongest, most descriptive, and most accurate manner to describe the actions of a company that treats its consumers like, well, sh**.

To everyone watching – do not put up with Ubisoft’s actions. Voice your rightful anger. Tell them that what they’re doing is unconscionable. Tell them that what they’re doing is completely wrong. Actively sabotaging an entire base of consumers is just wrong.

Make a difference.

Shank’s Spiel: Consolification Of PC Ports

June 19th, 2014 Posted by Shank's Spiel 1 comment

First, an apology. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong…at least partially. In my Watch Dogs First Impressions piece, I spoke about how the final game wasn’t downgraded on PC and in fact, looks better than its first showing at E3 2012. I specifically called out how HBAO+ wasn’t available in 2012 in time for the demo, citing one of the ways the final game looked superior to the E3 demo. While this one piece is true, I was wrong about everything else.

Watch Dogs most definitely was downgraded in visual quality from its E3 2012 demo. This is an absolute travesty and shame. However, this latest blow to the most powerful platform on the planet, the PC, only serves to showcase a systemic corruption that is completely poisoning the triple-A market today. And Ubisoft is leading the charge.

There is an absolutely toxic consolification of PC ports which perpetuates into this current console generation. I honestly thought that because these new consoles are x86 in nature, and therefore share architecture with the PC, that PC versions of cross platform games would finally, finally get their due and look and perform far superior to their console counterparts.

Leave it to the triple-A market to grab that glimmer of hope and twist, corrupt, poison, and eviscerate it beyond the point of recognition, only to return it lying smashed and ruined at the feet of PC gamers.

It’s not as if Ubisoft didn’t have the means or resources to make the game as pretty as you see here. This mod, created by modder TheWorse, simply enables effects that were used during the E3 2012 demo. Meaning, at no point did he inject any new additional effects. These features and effects already existed, deliberately locked away by Ubisoft in the bowels of Watch Dogs’ system files.

For your convenience, and to convey the ridiculous number of features Ubisoft disabled, this mod brings with it changes to the default fog values, Bokeh DoF for the main cameras, stuttering improvements, E3 2012 bloom, performance improvements, enabled headlight shadows, LOD changes, reflection changes, three additional new cameras to the game (closer, normal, further), rain changes (high quality rain drops, properly reacting to light, etc), lens flares, lighting changes, and civilian density changes.

The sheer gravity of insult this plays to PC gamers is inconceivable. I can draw a few conclusions from this fiasco. Either Ubisoft shut off those features, without knowledge that the PC community would tear into the file structure and do what they do best, or, perhaps more realistically and worryingly, Ubisoft deliberately and knowingly crippled the PC version simply to put the final build closer to the PS4.

Now, the first scenario is rather obvious and is almost the easy answer. Given their past history with PC ports, I highly doubt Ubisoft knew what they were doing in giving PC gamers the absolute premium experience they deserve. So, to suggest that they simply didn’t optimize the game is rather straightforward.

However, I believe the second scenario to be far more likely. You see, I simply don’t trust these large triple-A publishers anymore. Dumbing down PC versions of cross platform games is the worst insult they can throw at PC gamers. I am not one to believe that all versions of a cross platform game should be the same – at least on a technical level. Content-wise, yes, there should be parity. But when it comes to visuals and performance, do not dare insult us with your compromised versions of the PC version and sell it to us as such.

If I have a Ferarri, I deserve to drive it at 200 mph. Don’t force me to drive it everywhere at 30 mph, simply because you don’t want to make other drivers in their family sedans feel bad. I’m sorry. Your twisted concept of visual parity has absolutely no place in the industry, and is certainly not welcomed to the table of PC gamers.

I’m fully aware that not every single console player is like this, but I don’t care if console players complain and feel bad if their version of a cross platform game looks and performs worse than the PC version. It is unrealistic and ludicrous for console players to expect the same experience from their static, middle-of-the-road box as a PC that is literally 3.5x more powerful.

I’m sorry, but you don’t get to jealously complain just because your machine is woefully underpowered to play modern games at full 1080p resolution with full effects. You don’t get to dictate and cripple my experience simply so you can point to the PC version and say, “it doesn’t look any better than my PS4.”

You gave up that right the instant you decided to ignorantly claim that PC gaming is dead and cling to the misguided belief that consoles offer the best experience.

As a PC gamer, and as someone who actually owns the Xbox One and PS4, I am thoroughly incensed every time I see half-assed PC ports. My PC is 3.5x more powerful than my PS4. I deserve visuals and performance that reflects this. My PC is simply better. And for this, for having the gall to save money, to patiently build a machine because I want the best, I am punished.

Many of you reading know exactly what I am talking about. If you are a PC gamer, you understand and share my frustration over this consolification of PC ports. You deserve better. You deserve developers and publishers who give a damn about their PC audience because guess what? If you, Ubisoft, actually gave a damn and built competent PC games, then perhaps, just perhaps, you wouldn’t be so thoroughly paranoid that we PC gamers are pirating your games. It’s because of your complete ineptitude and incompetence that your games are pirated. You shouldn’t be rewarded with our money for peddling your utterly horrid ports, filled to the brim with broken DRM, only to pass them off as a competent PC game.

No.

Not every PC gamer has a juggernaut of brute horsepower, but that absolutely does not give developers and publishers the right to deliberately compromise PC versions of games. I don’t care what excuse the likes of Ubisoft come up with. They’re wrong. PC gamers should not have to put up with it. We have the scalable, faster, and more powerful platform. We are completely in the right to expect and deserve better.

Watch Dogs First Impressions

May 29th, 2014 Posted by News Archive, Nintendo, PC, Platforms, Playstation, Xbox 1 comment

Watch_Dogs 2014-05-27 19-26-21-61

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: 
PC (played), PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: May 27, 2014 (Wii U TBD Fall 2014)
Engine: Disrupt Engine

Ever since its stunning reveal at E3 2012, Watch Dogs has become the poster child for next gen. Even though that demo was running on the PC, as was confirmed multiple times by Ubisoft, it gave a tantalizing glimpse into what was in store for both console gamers and PC gamers with lower end machines.

The game was even set to launch alongside the current generation as a launch title, Sony going so far as to have a Watch Dogs bundle (which looked sick, by the way). However, it was delayed to allow for further polish and refinement (this seems to be going around lately).

As soon as I saw this game in action, I knew I’d be playing it on PC. I knew that between E3 2012 and launch day, I’d have to upgrade my PC if I wanted the absolute best, premium experience of Watch Dogs. And so, two years later, my PC now contains:

CPU: i7 3770k @ 3.5 GHz
GPU: EVGA SC 780ti with ACX Cooler (I have overclocked this further)
RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 1666 MHz

I am currently running the game on full Ultra with 2x TXAA and injected 16x anisotropic filtering via Nvidia Inspector. Additionally, my PC is hooked up to my TV and I’m playing the game from my couch with an Xbox 360 controller. You can use these specs as a benchmark of sorts if you’re trying to figure out what performance you can expect from your own rig. My own performance will be mentioned later on in this piece, so sit tight.

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Now, let’s dive right into my experiences. The best way I can describe Watch Dogs is that it takes the best elements of GTA, Splinter Cell, and Assassin’s Creed and combines them into one amazing experience.

At the time of this writing, I have played roughly eight hours of the game. In that time, I have done a few story missions, drove around downtown and Pawnee, hacked into people’s bank accounts and robbed them of $75,000, hacked into phone conversations, went trenchcoat and iconic cap shopping, hacked into a few ctOS towers, ran around in blind panic as another player hacked into my game, and took a trillion screenshots.

Oh, I also hacked a train, jumped onto its roof, and escaped the police. What makes this more impressive is that I didn’t plan it. I was running away from an event, desperate to find any escape when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a train pull into the station. In a dead sprint, I hacked it to prevent it from leaving the station as I belted towards it. With seconds to spare, I reached the train and landed on its roof. Turning back, I saw the police officers I left behind, smiling to myself.

These types of situations aren’t rare in Watch Dogs. In fact, the amount of density and detail to the world is staggering. Just yesterday, I spent an hour simply listening to people’s conversations. No two conversations were the same, and a lot of these conversations lead you to some pretty interesting stuff.

And that’s perhaps the best way to nicely sum up my experience so far: detail.

The world is absolutely brimming with detail. The NPCs in Watch Dogs are the most believable AI I have ever come across in an open world game . They all act and behave uniquely, yet respond to the player and the environment all the same. You can tell they have their own lives. I encourage you to spend five minutes, pick a random street corner or a park, and just watch the NPCs. You’ll see what I mean.

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On top of the amazing AI, there are simply so many missions in Watch Dogs, ranging from fixer missions, hacking missions, gang busts, crime prevention, and the random missions that crop up by listening to NPCs. Each one feels unique and creates a real sense of excitement upon its undertaking.

I’ve only dipped my toes into the multiplayer component. I was hacked twice by other players. I managed to find the perpetrator on the first occasion. It was pure luck. The second occasion was marked with me running around the streets of Chicago in a blind panic, desperately trying to locate the other player.

I failed spectacularly. However, despite my complete incompetence, I really love this take on multiplayer. You’re not sharing the world with others like in an MMO per se, but you feel a sense of connection to other players enjoying the game. The sense of tension and excitement it creates is very real and a welcome inclusion.

Perhaps my only “criticism” of the game so far is the driving. I understand that Ubisoft is going for a more arcade feel here, as is the case with other open world games, but vehicles simply feel sloppy in the way they handle, plagued by perpetual understeer. Compared with its most obvious rival, GTA V, the driving in Watch Dogs is pretty lackluster. I say this after having driven various different vehicles ranging from hatchbacks, motorcycles, sports cars, and a dump truck. Yes, a dump truck. It was baller.

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Ok, I can’t hold it any longer. Time to talk about graphics. In short, this game is absolutely gorgeous. Playing this game on full Ultra settings at a buttery smooth 60fps is stunning. I have not experienced a single hitch in stuttering, freezing, crashing, or any other issue. On my end of things, the game runs flawlessly.

How does this game compare to its E3 reveal? To put it simply, it looks better today than it did at E3. This idea that somehow the game was downgraded is partially true. Yes, it was downgraded to fit on the new consoles, but the PC version actually looks better than it did at E3. Is it drastically better? No. But every little element has been improved a little bit over the E3 demo. All these little improvements add up in a big way.

If you are the type of person who does not like hearing objective truths, now is the time the stop reading. Almost everything from the E3 build has been incrementally tweaked and given a polished sheen. Shaders are more accurate, behaving realistically to lighting and weather. Lighting is more concise, providing even more accurate ambient occlusion by way of HBAO+ (which did NOT exist at the time of the E3 2012 demo).

Reflections are even more realistic, reflecting not just obvious light sources such as headlights, but also secondary and tertiary light emitted from neon signs and even Aiden’s smartphone. The water is just so damn good, tessellated to perfection. Incidence refraction helps drive the incredible realism of its properties. The water reacts not just to objects such as boats, but also to the ambient weather. It reflects literally everything, including ambient occlusion shading from its surrounding environment. Just take a look at the screenshot at the top of this piece. It’s truly ridiculous.

The sheer amount of detail and polish in the visual and technical elements of Watch Dogs simply cannot be overstated. On full Ultra, it’s far superior to the current gen console versions and indeed, better than the E3 2012 build. To deny this only showcases ignorance and a blatant lack of respect for the developers’ years of work.

Watch_Dogs 2014-05-28 12-30-58-96

In short, I am having a blast in Watch Dogs. The incredibly immersive gameplay, genuinely believable AI, awesome weather system, myriad of activities, and stunning visuals all come together brilliantly to provide a fundamentally thrilling experience.

By borrowing core elements from GTA, Splinter Cell, and Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft have created a truly fun, dynamic, and consistently intriguing game. I am constantly amazed every time I pick up my controller and boot up the game. I experience something new every single time. I can’t wait to spend more time in Watch Dogs.

 

Episode 45: The Neeeed…For Speed!

May 20th, 2014 Posted by Podcasts, Totally Heroes No Comment yet

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Big show for you guys this week as the Heroes discuss Halo 5 news, industry sales numbers, as well as tackle the needless satiation of divisive collector’s editions flooding the market. Plus, is emulation more likely because of these new consoles? How the turn tables

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Episode 45: The Neeeed…For Speed!
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Totally Heroes Episode 45: The Neeeed…For Speed!

May 20th, 2014 Posted by Podcasts No Comment yet

Penguins-Pandas-polaroid

Big show for you guys this week as the Heroes discuss Halo 5 news, industry sales numbers, as well as tackle the needless satiation of divisive collector’s editions flooding the market. Plus, is emulation more likely because of these new consoles? How the turn tables

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/thequestshow.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/thep45.mp3]
Totally Heroes Episode 45: The Neeeed…For Speed!
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Assassin’s Creed: Unity Announced

March 22nd, 2014 Posted by News Archive, Platforms, Playstation, Xbox No Comment yet

Ubisoft has announced the next installment of the Assassins Creed franchise: Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

Not much is known about the game so far, but Ubisoft has confirmed that the game will be released during the holiday season of 2014 on Xbox One and Playstation 4. To go along with the announcement, Ubisoft released a short gameplay trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Unity featuring alpha game footage:

From the trailer, it is safe to assume the game will take place during the French Revolution. Those familiar with the Reign of Terror will recognize the guillotine, the tool that took the lives of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the revolution. Perhaps players will be able to change the course of history?

Hopefully, more information regarding the game will be revealed soon.

Watch Dogs Release Date Revealed

March 6th, 2014 Posted by News Archive No Comment yet

Earlier today, as seen on the Playstation Blog, Ubisoft Content Marketing Manager Mike Madavi announced the launch date of what could be one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year, Watch_Dogs. It will release on May 27, 2014.

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Originally slated to be a launch title with the PS4 and Xbox One, Watch_Dogs was delayed. Now finally being announced, players will soon explore Chicago as Aiden Pearce, a “brilliant hacker and former thug whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy.”

Also released today was a new trailer showcasing Aiden’s drive for revenge, as well as introducing you to some of the other characters in the story.

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Image Courtesy of Playstation Blog

In addition, a PS4 and PS3 bundle was also announced, but no price was given as of this posting. Releasing on 5/27/14 as well, the bundle will have a copy of Watch_Dogs and the console. Ps4 and Ps3 players will also be happy to know that the Sony versions of the game will include another 60 minutes of exclusive gameplay.

Watch Dogs Release Date Revealed?

March 4th, 2014 Posted by News Archive No Comment yet
courtesy of edge-online.com

courtesy of edge-online.com

If the Playstation Store is accurate, the agonizing wait for Ubisoft’s highly anticipated Watch Dogs could be over soon.

The PSN page for Watch Dogs has been updated with what appears to be a release date of June 30th. While this may be a temporary place holder, it is the most concrete date we have received since Watch Dog’s  lengthy delay last year. Could this be a release window? Or is this a ruse to spark interest? Hopefully, we will find out soon.

With only weeks to go before launch on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One,  Ubisoft broke the hearts of fans and delayed Watch Dogs to an unspecified date in 2014. Not much of the game has been seen since the delay, but promising gameplay footage has kept the interest level high. Hopefully, the wait will be worth our time.

 

We will keep you posted when more concrete details arrive regarding a release date, but until then, keep your peepers locked at QGN for more great gaming news.

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