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E3 2012: Is ‘Watch Dogs’ Next Gen?

Microsoft and Sony were very careful to announce ‘no new hardware’ before E3, and stuck to that promise. Nothing shown at either of their press events was for anything other than the devices that are already out on the market. The closest thing Xbox has to hardware launch right now is a Windows 8 tablet running Smart Glass.

But other publishers show games too.

Ubisoft wowed audiences and critics with a demo of Watch Dogs. Graphically amazing, but also implying a depth of gameplay and sandbox options above and beyond what their own Assassin’s Creed series is capable of. The demo was played on stage using an Xbox 360 controller, but Ubisoft confirmed later that it was a PC version of the game we’d seen.

Ubisoft clearly has a hit on their hands, and usually a game like this gets showcased at a hardware maker’s show. Why would Microsoft pass on Watch Dogs and take Splinter Cell? Easy, Splinter Cell shows a game running on XBox 360, and Watch Dogs won’t look like the demo we saw on Xbox 360.

Ubisoft says the release date for Watch Dogs is beyond 2012. If new hardware (aside from Wii U) does launch in 2013, Watch Dogs could be an important launch title. We’ve been assured that the game will come out on PS3 and XBox 360, but it isn’t hard to think back to 2005/2006 when games like Tomb Raider Legend and Gun launched on PS2 and Xbox with HD versions on PS3 and Xbox 360.

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The Week After Diablo 3

It’s been over a week since Diablo 3 launched to the ravenous public. And after 12 years of waiting for the second sequel to one of Blizzard’s top tier franchises to finally be released, who couldn’t expect some bumps along the way. Between crashing servers, players already finding their accounts hacked, and the now meme-worthy “Error 37” debacle, the patience of many gamers has been put to the test. (a very online-oriented test too, mind you….no single-player offline tests here)

However, Blizzard was confident in their ability to weather the storm, and announced that the game has broken PC gaming records, with sales going beyond 3.5 million (well, 2.4 million, if you subtract the copies given for free to WoW subscribers) within the first 24 hours of the game’s release. (Starcraft 2 only saw a opening-day sale count of around 1 million, to put into perspective) While not mentioning sales in actual dollar signs, Blizzard is still making sure that they are dedicated to providing a steady and stable gaming environment for all Diablo 3 players.

Just ignore those “Server Down” messages. They’ll go away eventually.

What have been your experiences with Diablo 3 thus far? Let us know in the comments!

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$20 Game of the Week: Universe Sandbox (PC)

Designed by Dan Dixon over the course of a 15 year period, Universe Sandbox is exactly what the title implies: a sandbox allowing you to play with the universe. Not so much a computer game as an education tool, Universe Sandbox is a gravity simulator. While it simulates our universe, you can pretty much adjust and test anything within the game, from the size of the planets, position of bodies, to collisions of stars and planets. There are several simulations included with the game, and you can edit them as you wish. So if you want a look at how our solar system looks, or bring about the apocalypse, then you’ll want to download this game. Makes for a good science project too.

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Lost Classics: Blake Stone – Aliens of Gold & Planet Strike (PC)

Apogee Software created Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold shortly after Wolfenstein 3-D was released. Using a modified version of the Wolfenstein 3-D engine, the game depicted Blake Stone, a sort of futuristic James Bond as he tries to stop Dr. Goldfire from taking over the world using a race of genetically engineered aliens. Like Wolfenstein 3-D, Blake Stone was a fun and fast paced FPS game from the genre’s early days. Unfortunately, the game had the misfortune of being released a week before ID Software’s Doom, which turned the genre on its head. Thus, Blake Stone, and its sequel Planet Strike were criminally overlooked. Thankfully, you can find both on for cheap.

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Famicom Dojo Podcast: Console Versus PC

Could the console and PC wars have been snuffed out in the early ’80s if NES hadn’t been released? Or was Nintendo’s intervention in the market overblown? Vinnk and Sean ponder the rift between PC and console gamers, those who do both, and what kinds of games seem to be better suited to one over the other. Are the two devices on a collision course? Or is the idea of a Steam Box or other PC-based “console” nothing more than a fever dream?

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Powetcast 115: Rise Of The Planet Of The Steam

If you’ll be my bodyguard, I’ll be your long lost pal.
This week the trio of Zac, Adam, and Jordan ponder life on Earth after the Apes or Vandal Savage take over. We’ll also talk about Steam as a service that could evolve into hardware if the rumors are true. Finally some Playstation Vita dissection to round out the show.
We stay on topic a lot and it was not easy to do that. Enjoy!

Listen live on this page, or subscribe via RSS or iTunes.
Direct Link:Powetcast 115: Rise Of The Planet Of The Steam
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Romance Liara T’Soni – KEEP PLAYING: Mass Effect 2

Wait! Before you bed one of the new hotties in the Normandy SR-2 crew, keep this in mind: your Mass Effect 1 romances are still active!

Find out about how (and why) Liara T’Soni is the only ME1 character you can pursue in Mass Effect 2 after the jump

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$20 Game of the Week: Playboy – The Mansion Gold Edition (PC)

Since 1953, Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle magazine has been the bastion of men’s journalism. Each month, readers the world over have enjoyed the magazine’s selection of short stories, articles, and political commentary. Oh and of course pictures of nude women. ARUSH entertainment, along with Groove games have released Playboy the Mansion, a lifestyle/business simulator game allowing players to step in the shoes of Hugh Hefner. Because of its name, this one is clearly not for kids. However, unlike other titles of this nature (i.e Rumble Roses and Dead or Alive Extreme Beach volleyball) rated titles, this one focuses on creating a compelling (if flawed) gaming experience as much as it focuses on nude women.
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