Saturday, 29 December 2012


This was originally posted on an alternate blog.

Tomorrow marks one month since I got my Wii U. And in that month I've had to literally pull the plug out 3 times due to lock-ups and just today, I've had four errors saying my disc is unreadable and that I should clean it. I've had the disc for five days and it's either been in the box it came in or in the console itself. It is not dirty and it has no scratches on it.

To put this into perspective - I've had my 3DS for some point between one and half and 2 years. During that time it's probably frozen three times. My Wii, 6 years old, has frozen once. My Gamecube, which I've had for over 10 years, never froze at all. These are problems over years. I've not even had the Wii U a month.

My iPod Touch has also been reduced to a half-functioning brick. The main problems started occuring after updating to iOS6 which result in apps failing for no apparent reason. If I tap Twitter, I'm lucky if I get to hit the "Write a Tweet" button and it seems it's a 1 in 20 chance that I'll actually get to finish tweeting before it locks up. It's the same with iBooks and the App Store. The same with the Facebook app, with most games I can't even reach the title screen.

But back to the culprit of the disc-read errors - Assassin's Creed III. I can be hunting animals and go in for a strike and then POW! - the animal has disappeared. I didn't even hit it. It was there and then it was gone. Even humans randomly disappear in the street. Some don't even appear when they are supposed to. I triggered a "beat up 2 guys for this kid" mission and the HUD indicated exactly where they were. Except they weren't there. And then, the HUD kept telling me were there for the next 15 minutes until I exited the Animus and the game effectively reset.

This isn't particularly a bug - but you can run through select buildings to escape from guards when they are chasing you. Now I wasn't being chased but just so happened to be walking around rooftops like you do. I dropped down onto a little ledge and saw a woman peeking out of a window which is suspiciously big enough to run through. So I slowly edged closer and she noticed me.
"Oh dear, he's seen me," the woman's voice whispered. But only in my head. She doesn't actually have dialogue in the game.
At this point, she backs up into her house. I climb in. This cues a sequence where I am automatically running through the house but I notice that she is nowhere to be seen despite the fact that I have seen her mere moments before.

Also Assassin's Creed III has bestowed upon me a purple/pink ship that, after 10 seconds, became the usual brown, some information prompts that do not actually display any information and many, many more. If you wish to enjoy such delights, visit your local retailer and prepare to be so disappointed that you'll actually be impressed that it took a team of hundreds of people about 3 years to develop and test this masterpiece.

Friday, 28 December 2012


This was originally posted on an alternate blog.

Games can be loud. I know this because when I completed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and put the volume on max to hear the credits music, my mother shouted from the other room that it was too loud. I ignored her and listened to the credits, and then the other credits, in their full, max-volume gloriousness.

That's an example of the 3DS. I assume Xbox 360 games are loud too but unfortunately I can never hear them for the noise that the console itself makes. The Wii U seems to take a leaf out of the 3DS though. Nintendo Land is quite loud and the volume always has to be on because otherwise I'd miss the amazing remixes of classic Nintendo songs. When the Gerudo Valley theme played during a mission on Zelda: Battle Quest there may or may not have been a tear streaming down my face.

Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition is also loud. And the music in that is great too. I always let the menu theme play until near the end before I resume the story. Mighty Switch Force HD - that's a really loud bugger. The 3DS version was loud, but this one takes the biscuit. My TV is usually set to a volume between 16 and 18. I have to reduce it to 4 to play Mighty Switch Force.

This Christmas, I received New Super Mario Bros. U and Assassin's Creed III. It's not surprising that Mario is also loud. But Assassin's Creed, whose soundtrack I have not stopped listening to for the past 2 months, isn't. It's far too quiet. Like Batman, I let the menu theme play until near the end but that's usually waiting for a moment when I can actually hear it. This is a major fault which Ubisoft need to fix.

There was a cutscene somewhere in Sequence 5 or 6 which involves the Boston Tea Party, that fact fans may know was an actual piece of history. And during this cutscene, Connor (the main character), holds the last box and throws it off the ship. The main theme plays at this point. I could not hear it very well. Fix it, Ubisoft. Fix it.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


This was originally posted on an alternate blog.

Following Christmas and family visiting, I decided I didn't want to play Assassin's Creed III or New Super Mario Bros. U, nor read some books nor watch DVDs. The only thing left to do, other than browse the internet for hours on end, was to work on a game. Originally I was going to work on Fletchbook and add/improve a few features but instead I opened up Unity.

We've spoken (Three Stage Studios) a few times about doing a commentary for Fletch but it is usually just in passing, an "if we have time" statement. Scope is a huge thing in creating a game. We've scoped down a fair bit from the original idea, so much so that level 1 is probably the size of the remaining three levels put together. Eventually we decided we couldn't cut anything else - not even the excessive-in-comparison-to-the-rest- of-the-game level 1.